The Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) is a statutory multi-agency board with responsibilities set out in the Care Act 2014. The SSAB is chaired by an independent chair, Mr Simon Turpitt.
There is a statutory duty for all Safeguarding Adult Boards to publish an annual report and disseminate to various parties, of which the Health and Wellbeing Board is one.
Simon Turpitt - Independent Chair of the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB)
Key points raised in the discussion:
1. The Independent Chair (SSAB) noted:
· the challenging year dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, driving lockdowns causing isolation, fear, mental health pressures and family splits, and pressure put on staff through increased risk when transporting their patients and clients and during home visits.
· positive responses included: staff adapting by finding innovative ways of working or using technology to maintain customer contact, the voluntary sector ensured that support channels remained open, increased co-operation between agencies working more closely with other boards and partnerships; despite the decreased visibility of concerns, safeguarding remained the focus - led by a new board manager.
· that over the past eighteen months partnership working had strengthened with the Health and Wellbeing Board, the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership Board, the Domestic Abuse Management Board, the MHPB and LeDeR Governance.
· that during the first lockdown there initially was a decrease in the number of safeguarding concerns, later increasing by 32% with the lifting of the lockdown.
· that the number of Section 42s under the Care Act 2014 increased by 27% - training on Section 42s had increased reporting.
· that the number of Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SARs) was six which was more than the previous year and included joint SARs and Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) which was a unique situation across the country, two SARs had been published on the SSAB website.
· a bar chart showing the breakdown of enquiries received by the SSAB, with a large number concerning neglect and acts of omission which included the ignoring of or failure to provide medical, emotional, physical, educational or nutritional care needs; there was an increase in domestic abuse enquiries - learn from those situations was crucial.
· the outcomes from the work included:
- training on enquiry handling concerning Section 42s, safeguarding essentials with the district and borough councils and the VCFS, and Individual Management Review Writing (IMR) for SARs.
- communications - SSAB quarterly newsletter, a contribution to the Safeguarding Awareness Week and a SSAB Twitter account and Covid-19 information page including a dedicated Care Home page and Learning Lessons from SARs published on the SSAB website.
- other - developing and improving SSAB’s Q&A data, realignment of the sub-groups to more accurately reflect the work programme.
· focus areas going forward:
- the significant increase in SARs - now up to twelve - lessons learnt must be taken on board across all the agencies;
- the pressure on resources which needed to be understood and responded to;
- the building of a new three-year strategic plan;
- the improving of SSAB’s links with the third sector through a Third Sector Forum;
- the strengthening of the communication strategy supported by the Surrey County Council;
- building a bigger focus on supporting care homes;
- strengthening quality assurance.
2. A Board member noting that having worked closely with Independent Chair and having joined the SSAB’s executive, commended the work of the SSAB during the challenging year through its increased engagement, communications, training and undertaking of case work including the SARs during the increased demand for the safeguarding service; she encouraged all to refer to the SSAB website which provided advice and links to external agencies.
3. A Board member asked how the SSAB’s workload was affected as a result of the doubling of the SARs from six last year to twelve.
- In response the Independent Chair (SSAB) explained that undertaking the SARs was a lengthy and resource-intensive process, due to the appointment of an independent author, the IMRs and panel assessment before receipt by the SSAB which could take between six to nine months or a year in some cases. The length of the process was affected by the complexity of the case, involvement of families and various agencies, proceedings of the Coroner’s Court and police prosecutions - the SSAB was reviewing the process to make it simpler - DHRs could take eighteen months due to the Home Office sign-off required.
4. The Board member asked how the lessons learnt and experience from undertaking the SARs was shared across the different boards within the county and at place-level, noting the alignment of the SSAB to the Health and Wellbeing Board over the past eighteen months.
- In response, theIndependent Chair (SSAB) explained that SSAB members were tasked with enacting change from lessons learnt, through having representatives take this back to their organisations or via the Health and Wellbeing Board for example.
- The Independent Chair (SSAB) recognised that more needed to be done to communicate those learnings across the system and he would follow that up, noting the SSAB learning document that is circulated to other boards.
5. A Board member from a community provider point of view highlighted the large amount of work involved in the safeguarding reviews, querying the level of reporting in Surrey where any safeguarding case above zero has to be reported.
- In response, the Independent Chair (SSAB) noted the continued debate about the threshold level concerning safeguarding enquiries, noting that as Independent Chair (SSAB) he welcomed more enquiries being raised even if it is challenging at times.
6. The Board member further asked how the loop could be closed, ensuring that community providers are aware of the outcomes having raised safeguarding enquiries.
- In response, the Independent Chair (SSAB) noted the initiative from adult social care that when an enquiry is received, feedback would be provided for example through the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). If that was not the case and for a further discussion on the threshold level, he was happy to liaise with the Board member outside of the meeting.
7. The Chairman welcomed the report and reassurance that the SSAB was overseeing adult safeguarding effectively despite a challenging situation.
1. Considered and noted the attached Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board Annual Report 2020/21.
2. Considered the SSAB Annual Report in relation to the HWB strategic priorities to ensure collaborative working between the boards.
Actions/further information to be provided:
1. The Independent Chair (SSAB) will look to communicate the lessons learnt from undertaking the SARs more so across the system; considering the current SSAB learning document.