Safeguarding Adults Policy

Part of the Trust’s ASB and Hate Crime Framework and Access & Customer Care Framework Level 1 policy approval - Version 2 APPROVED 27 September 2018

Angela Macpherson – Board Champion

1. Purpose & Scope

1.1. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. The Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust – as a housing provider has an important role to play in keeping people safe.

1.2. The Trust is committed to safeguarding adults who use or are connected to our services and to protecting them from abuse or neglect. This Policy applies to all employees of the Trust, including Board Members, sub-contractors, agents or volunteers operating on our behalf.

2. Definition

2.1. The safeguarding duties set out in the Care Act 2014 apply to an adult (any person aged 18 or over) who:

  • Has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs),
  • Is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse and neglect and
  • As a result of those needs is unable to protect him or her against abuse or neglect or the risk of it. (Please see 2.2 for a list of Safeguarding categories)

2.2. ‘Safeguarding’ is the term used to describe the protection of adults in terms of health, well-being and their human rights, which allows them to live free from abuse, harm and neglect. Safeguarding can include the following categories:

  • Physical Abuse – Any intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person by way of bodily contact.
  • Domestic Violence / Abuse – any incident of threatening behaviours, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.
  • Sexual Abuse – Any incident of unwanted sexual contact or behaviour forced upon another person.
  • Psychological Abuse – A form of abuse, characterised by a person subjecting, or exposing, another person to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • Financial Abuse – The illegal or unauthorised use of a person's property, money, financial documents or other valuables (including changing the person's will to name the abuser as heir), often fraudulently.
  • Discriminatory Abuse – This includes some forms of harassment, slurs or unfair treatment relating to race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation and religion.
  • Organisational Abuse – This involves the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to vulnerable people. It can be seen or detected in attitudes, behaviours and processes that amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and stereotyping. It includes a failure to ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to protect vulnerable adults and maintain good standards of care in accordance with individual needs, including training of employees, supervision and management, record keeping and liaising with other providers of care.
  • Modern Slavery – This includes slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals in to a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.
  • Hate Crime – Defines any crime that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be racist, homophobic, transphobic or due to another person’s religion, belief, disability or gender identity. This definition is based on the perception of the victim and is not reliant on evidence.
  • Neglect – Not being provided with enough food or with the right kind of food, or not being taken proper care of. Not being helped to wash or change dirty or wet clothes, not getting a person to a doctor when they need one or not making sure they have the right medicines all count as neglect.
  • Self Neglect – Covers a wide range of behaviour including neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and behaviours such as hoarding.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genital organs or any other injury to the female organs for non-medical reasons.
  • Mate Crime / cuckooing – Can occur when someone is faking care or a friendship in order to take advantage of a vulnerable person. Mate crime / cuckooing is committed by someone known to the person and they may have known them for a long time or only met recently. The perpetrator may be a ‘friend’, family member, supporter, paid employees or another person with access to the individual. 
  • Cyber scams / Crime – Involves using the internet and social media with the intention of bullying, extorting, scamming or threatening another person with the possible intention of harm.
  • Honour based violence – Is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community. It is a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.
  • Forced marriage – Is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties are married against their will or without their consent. A ‘forced’ marriage differs from an arranged marriage, in which both parties consent to the assistance of their parents or a third party in locating a spouse. A forced marriage can be a particular risk for people lacking capacity or with learning difficulties.
  • Radicalisation exploitation – Involves the exploitation of susceptible people who are drawn in to violent extremism by radicalisers. Violent extremists often use charismatic individuals to attract people to their cause. The aim is to attract people to their reasoning, inspire new recruits and embed their extreme views and persuade vulnerable individuals of the legitimacy of their cause. The Prevent Strategy, launched in 2007, seeks to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It is the preventative strand of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.
  • Suicidal tendencies - The propensity for a person to have suicidal thoughts or to make suicide attempts.

3. Policy Statement

3.1. These principles apply to safeguarding adults, we will:

  • Follow the Care Act 2014’s six key safeguarding principles when working with adults at risk: empowerment, protection, prevention, proportionality, partnership and accountability.
  • Apply this policy to all adults at risk regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partner status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.
  • Assume that adults have mental capacity to make informed choices about their own safety and how they live their lives. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is central to actions and decisions in safeguarding adults.
  • Aim to prevent, detect and report significant harm to adults at risk from abuse or other types of exploitation, whilst supporting individuals in maintaining control over their lives and making informed decisions.
  • Ensure the wishes of the adult at risk are taken in to account at all times and if a person does not have the capacity to make informed decisions, judgements of what is in their best interests will be made, where appropriate, through discussions with relatives, carers and other agencies.
  • Record and refer all concerns, suspicions or allegations of abuse, harm or neglect where there is consent from the adult at risk, unless there is public interest consideration; or where there is immediate risk of harm; or where the adult requires urgent medical attention; or where there is a duty of care; or there is clear professional evidence of lack of capacity.
  • Share relevant personal information about adults at risk with the relevant Local Authority, lead partners, external agencies and/or the Police in line with the Data Protection Act 2018 where there are safeguarding concerns.
  • Have arrangements in place that clearly set out the processes and timescales for sharing information with the relevant Local Authority, lead partners and external agencies.
  • Establish clear lines of responsibility and accountability for the detection, recording and reporting of safeguarding concerns.
  • Ensure any systems related to the recording of safeguarding matters are confidential, robust and secure.
  • Establish leadership responsibility at Board level and senior managerial level for our safeguarding arrangements.
  • Undertake quarterly case reviews of all referrals to ensure policies and procedures have been followed.
  • Work closely with contractors and volunteers working on behalf of The Trust to ensure that they are aware and uphold this policy.
  • Provide appropriate supervision and support for employees and creating an environment where they feel able to raise any concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role.
  • Treat reports from employees who are at risk of reprisals as anonymous where possible but we cannot guarantee reporters will remain anonymous.
  • Ensure recruitment processes follow the Disclosure and Barring (DBS) regulations, which include checking certain groups of employees and volunteers to assist in preventing unsuitable people from working with vulnerable adults.
  • Ensure allegations and complaints against our employees or volunteers (people in positions of trust ‘PIPOT’) are treated seriously. If any allegations are made of this nature then they will be referred to the Head of Community Services for further investigation and in accordance with the disciplinary policy in conjunction with the Head of Employee Engagement.
  • Alternatively, employees or volunteers may have concerns regarding behaviour they have witnessed from employees employed by external agencies or volunteers (people in positions of trust ‘PIPOT’). In this instance the disclosure or concern will be raised with the Head of Community Services. 
  • Record and refer all concerns, suspicions or allegations of abuse, harm or neglect promptly to the Local Authority, lead partners, external agencies and/or the Police. We will also record the reasons if a decision is made not to refer a concern.
  • Work together with the lead agencies, and other statutory and voluntary agencies to protect the wellbeing of adults at risk by contributing to multiagency meetings, case conferences, or serious case reviews when requested to do so.
  • Ensure all relevant employees receives training on safeguarding and their roles and responsibilities to identify, record and report concerns of abuse, harm and neglect.

3.2. We will ensure that our procedures reflect that we work not just with Buckinghamshire County Council but also with other councils as well (Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire County Councils).

4. Equality and Diversity

4.1 In accordance with our Equality and Diversity Policy we will ensure that this policy is applied fairly and we do not discriminate on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partner status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. To this aim we will complete an Equality Impact Assessment and monitor the application of the policy and procedures.

4.2. The implementation of procedures will be sensitive to the specific needs of individual tenants in accordance with our Equality and Diversity Policy.

5. Value for Money

5.1. The Trust’s primary objective within this Policy is to set out its commitment to safeguarding adults.

5.2. The Trust through the implementation of the Safeguarding Adults Procedure links with key partners to ensure all cases are managed effectively and efficiently and will achieve value for money.

6. Consultation

6.1. We have consulted the appropriate local authority Safeguarding Adults Teams, (Buckinghamshire County Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Northamptonshire County Council and Hertfordshire County Council) the Trust’s Senior Managers’ Policy Group and Residents Forum. Whilst initial comments have been addressed it is possible that further comments will be forthcoming and any material changes will be reported back to the Board.

7. How the Policy will be Implemented

7.1. The Trust’s Board through the Chief Executive has overall responsibility for this Policy, its development, review and monitoring. The Head of Community Services has overall responsibility for the implementation of this policy.

7.2 All employees who work with adults have responsibility for the implementation of the policy in their day to day work.

8. Monitoring the policy

8.1. The Board has overall responsibility in terms of challenging and monitoring our safeguarding practice as well as ensuring we are achieving our objectives and responsibilities in this area.

8.2. We will monitor the Policy to ensure it delivers the expected outcomes. Periodic case reviews are typical of the monitoring systems in use. We will also produce an annual safeguarding report for the Board.

9. Period of review

9.1. We will review this policy when an organisational need arises. Typically we will review policies on a three year cycle. Our review programme is driven by service improvement initiatives, changes to legislation, regulation, best practice or as a result of feedback from key stakeholders.

10. Key Legal / Regulatory References & Linked Policies

10.1 There are a number of linked policies and procedures as well as key legal regulatory references which link closely to this policy. These are:

  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • Equality Act 2010
  • The Care Act 2014
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Anti Social Behaviour Policy
  • Hate Crime and Harassment Policy
  • Safeguarding Children and Young Person’s Policy 
  • Domestic Abuse Policy
  • Access and Customer Care Policy
  • Disclosure & Barring Service Policy 2012
  • Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 – section 5b
  • Equality andDiversity Policy
  • Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement 2018
Contact and publication details
Author Mark Frayne-Johnson
Job title Tenancy Services Manager
Email Mark.Frayne-Johnson@vaht.co.uk
Phone 01296 732612
Publication Public