Responding to safeguarding concerns from housing staff
Guidance for local authority social care staff
Senior social care staff should ensure:
- that safeguarding training helps local authority staff to understand the roles of housing staff and addresses negative attitudes
- joint working protocols are in place
- referrals from housing staff are taken seriously
- there is a joint approach to supporting people who are not eligible for social care support
- there are effective policies and training on service refusal and self-neglect
- that an individual’s choice to remain in a risky situation is met by gentle persistence to offer support rather than withdrawal
- housing staff are involved following referral, invited to strategy meetings and kept up to date on progress
- housing staff are included in protection planning where appropriate.
Negative attitudes of housing staff from adult social care can lead to exclusion.  Housing staff report a number of problems in getting appropriate responses to some safeguarding referrals. These include eligibility criteria and issues relating to assessment of risk, mental capacity, diagnosis and individual choice.  It is important that social care staff take referrals seriously and seek to jointly address concerns about risk and safeguarding. People left without the right support may become more vulnerable to abuse as a result and the consequences can be very serious.
Where the view from social care is that a safeguarding alert from housing is inappropriate, then it should be discussed with housing managers and a joint approach to the right solutions sought – it should not be simply rejected. Referrals that are not appropriate may be a good source of information from other perspectives – for example, building a wider picture of abuse patterns. Outright rejection of concerns may lead to an appropriate referral not being made. It is important to work together with all safeguarding partners to address safeguarding concerns. Local voluntary sector services may be able to provide support to people who are not eligible for social care services.