The West of Berkshire Safeguarding Adults Board meets four times a year to plan and scrutinise how agencies work together to keep adults at risk of abuse or neglect safe in Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham. Voluntary Sector providers are represented on the Board by Reading Voluntary Action (Sarah Morland), Involve Wokingham (Clare Rebbeck) or Volunteer Centre West Berkshire (Sharon Briggs) depending on the location of the meeting.
The Board has a new independent Chair, Teresa Bell
Among the topics discussed at the March Board meeting were: the priorities for next year’s Business Plan, Care Act Advocacy, service user involvement, results of the case file audit, safeguarding within mental health inpatient services at Prospect Park Hospital, and the Law Commission’s proposals for Liberty Protection Safeguards.
Independent Advocacy under the Care Act 2014
The Chief Executive of HealthWatch Reading, Mandeep Kaur Sira, presented learning from the perspective of advocacy providers working across the West of Berkshire. Mandeep reported that there is a committed group of advocates working across the area but referral numbers are still too low, meaning that too many people are not being involved in decisions made about them and their care and support.
In terms of timescales, an advocate could be allocated within a day, a week at the most. Learning suggests that low referral rates to advocacy may be due to a lack of knowledge about Care Act Advocacy. Closer working relationships between advocates and social workers would help to improve understanding of the role of the advocate and clarify for advocates when a safeguarding referral should be made. More advocacy support is needed with safeguarding. Some advocates have difficulty understanding the safeguarding process and lack of feedback exacerbates this. Lack of detail about an individual often leads to an advocate providing support with limited knowledge of the person’s circumstances. More detail at the point of referral would enable the advocate to provide more effective support.
Find out more about the Berkshire West SAB
If you have any issues about Safeguarding of Adults that you would like to bring to the attention of the Board please contact Sarah Morland firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, we are planning an Adult Safeguarding Community Awareness event in September – watch this space for more information