Report 47: User involvement in adult safeguarding
This section contains recommendations drawn from the literature and suggestions from the case studies.
Involvement of service users in strategic planningOpen
- take account of the views of service users and their representatives and see them as key partners in safeguarding and strategic planning
- involve service users (from a diverse range of groups) in training staff and in staff appointments and tendering processes for services
- ensure their policies and procedures are made available and accessible, e.g. using Plain English
- ensure that there is good communication between all elements of the board, so that people who use services can have input into decision making
- provide a range of means to involve people, not necessarily as Board members, but also through sub-groups or forums, and public consultations.
Involving individuals in safeguarding processesOpen
- Individual safeguarding processes should be conducted in such a way as to reflect the values of user involvement, including respect, partnership, equal relationships and expertise based on personal experience. The organisation’s culture should promote joint staff–user problem solving and sharing of power.
- Offer all people who use services accessible information on adult safeguarding, covering topics such as what is abuse, what happens after abuse is reported, and what social workers and others do to help keep people safe.
- Proactively encourage and facilitate an individual’s involvement in a safeguarding process. Individuals should feel empowered to direct and make decisions about their own safeguarding plans.
- Ensure that an individual can access an advocate where necessary.
- A lead practitioner should brief and support the individual throughout the safeguarding process. A mentor who has been through a safeguarding process previously could support the individual also.
- Promote participative approaches that are person-centred and inclusive: make meeting formats accessible, including times and locations, and offer translation and interpretation as needed.
- Use plain language such as 'feeling safe' and find out from the individual what this means to them. Early on establish the sorts of outcomes the individual is hoping for from the safeguarding process.
- Allow time and energy to work in a person-centred way to support the individual to feel safe and listened to. Different approaches may be needed for involving different individuals, but taking time to build the relationship and establish trust is essential.
- Encourage and train practitioners to record accurately and thoroughly the views of people who use services during safeguarding processes.
- Wherever possible, work alongside individuals who use services to produce a personal protection plan.
- At the conclusion of an investigation, give feedback on what happened and what will change as a result of the investigation.
- Listen to and learn from the experience of people who have been through a safeguarding procedure. This may be through debriefing with the person after the procedure is complete, or via formal mechanisms such as complaints procedures, audits, research and surveys.
- Involve people who have been through a safeguarding procedure in training both staff and others who use services in order to improve services and to empower individuals.
Research and auditOpen
- SABs should audit and evaluate outcomes of safeguarding interventions and find out how these are working for service users, improving procedures based on findings.
- involvement of service users in design and carrying out of research is important and practicable, and makes a difference.
- means of involvement include: checking draft surveys with a range of stakeholders, ensuring support for survey participants, and learn from other areas on what type of survey or audit and involvement has worked there.
- service users and volunteers can be trained and supported to carry out qualitative evaluation interviews.
- simple questions about how a safeguarding procedure worked, asked one-to-one in a conversational way work well.
- sometimes people may not want to be interviewed afterwards, due to 're-living' a difficult experience. Thorough case notes taken at the time reflecting the service user's views may be a substitute.
- involvement should be evaluated and the results shared so that people know what difference it makes and how to improve methods used.
Community outreach and involvementOpen
- barriers to involving groups such as women suffering domestic abuse, BME elders, and people with dementia or learning disabilities can be overcome with enough time and resources
- put effort into getting good clear advice and information material out, and keep it up to date
- involve communities and voluntary sector in discussion on adult protection and rights, e.g. through Awareness Weeks and supporting local projects
- capacity building for service user groups is needed, e.g. providing training and support for a diverse range of service user groups
- work with existing organizations of and for service users
- feed back to communities the results of their involvement and what happened because of it.
is needed in:
- involving service users from diverse groups
- the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act, Equalities legislation, UNCRPD and other relevant rights legislation
- how to balance choice and risk and to be aware of how to implement personalisation and direct payments, and methods for shared risk taking, such as risk enablement panels and family group conferences
- ensuring service users' voices are reflected in deciding their protection plans and recording users views in notes of case meetings
- ensuring that safeguarding processes go at a pace that allows for involvement and shared decision-making