A new way to help protect vulnerable adults

  • Protecting vulnerable adults is a challenge that social workers and policy makers have been trying to tackle for a long time. It now appears that a new innovative tool has been developed to help protect adults who are vulnerable.

    To ensure adult protection and safeguarding is effective the decisions taken by practitioners have needed to be based on accurate risk assessment. There appears to be a lack of consistency when it comes to information sharing between agencies and the time for keeping information to one agency is over. It has been stated that risk management plans should be multi-agency, complete to the individual and based on substantial evidence.

    The Social Services Improvement Agency in Wales via an All Wales Team Manager Development Programme have developed an new tool known as the ‘adult safeguarding chronology' to start this multi-agency information sharing. This tool aims to look into why some vulnerable adults are abused and limit the amount of repeat referrals.

    The chronology is a timeline listing the significant incidents a person's life. This means that agencies will be able to build detailed profiles of the victim in a way that can be easily shared. This means that a full history of abuse and any referrals and concerns that have not met the threshold for a referral can be bought to attention.

    Firstly based on social services record, the chronology can be converted into a multi-agency chronology of events through the use of strategy meeting and discussions with agency partners. Whilst it appears quite simple, it is an effective measure to ensure that all agencies are made aware of the history of past abuse, and the investigations, interventions and outcomes that followed.

    The chronologies will also be shared with the police so that they can manage the risk through the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements. As they are a live document, they will stay with any vulnerable adult whilst on their journey with social care services.

    Chronologies are already used in child protection procedures to assess and manage risk. The adult safeguarding chronologies mirror those of the child protection chronologies, in a more adult appropriate way, to effectively prevent and respond to abuse.

    Information sourced from a Guardian article written by Louisa Laurent, the POVA coordinator for Caerphilly county borough council.

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