Local authority duties for safeguarding enquiries (Section 42) and safeguarding adults reviews (Section 44) do not apply to adults living in prisons or approved premises, inmates of which are the responsibility of that specific institution. Although SABs have no jurisdiction over prisons or approved premises, they may assist the institution with its safeguarding responsibilities by acting as a ‘critical friend’.
Prisons, approved premises and SABs can usefully work together in areas such as:
- Supporting the safeguarding of the individual or the wider community during the period where an offender may leave a prison on day release to work in the community, or where someone is leaving a prison to live in the community. This may involve referral to a multi-agency risk assessment conference or multi-agency public protection arrangements.
- Policy and procedure development and implementation.
- Staff development and training.
- Trends of safeguarding activity, causes of abuse and neglect and possible remedies to both.
- Written information on safeguarding adults and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
- Supporting people who may be subject to abuse from individuals outside prison (during visits or through remote communication by phone or letter).
Where prisons or probation services do join SABs, a robust information-sharing agreement between them and the SAB will assist in the sharing of concerns, good practice and learning points. For example, a prison may need to provide information to a SAB if an incident occurs after release, or there may be relevant information concerning an offender’s behaviour, known to the prison prior to release, that can be shared in order to manage potential risk.
The HM Inspectorate of Prisons, as part of its inspection of individual institutions, may wish to examine how a prison is engaging with SABs and the benefit it is drawing from this.
Prisoners have an avenue of complaint to the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). The PPO and SABs will need to consider whether there are opportunities and benefits from establishing closer relationships with each other.