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West Midlands Procedure and S42 Local Guidance

Living a life that is free from harm and abuse is a fundamental right of every person. All of us need to sign up to this principle and to follow it in acting as good neighbours and citizens. Across the West Midlands, all the organisations involved in adult safeguarding are committed to preventing abuse and harm and putting service users at the centre of our work. The Care Act, which came into force on 1st April 2015, is the most significant legislation on care and support in England for over fifty years. The principle that underlies the Care Act is that of promoting the wellbeing of individuals, and of making sure that professionals always recognise that each person’s needs are different, and respond accordingly.

Service users, carers and professionals have been looking with great interest at the sections of the Act that cover adult safeguarding. With wellbeing, and making safeguarding personal as the underlying principles, the Act gives new duties to professionals involved in adult safeguarding in England. It also gives new rights to adults who need care and support and their carers. As such, it is exciting and welcome.

When abuse does take place, it needs to be dealt with swiftly, effectively and in ways which are proportionate to the issues that have been identified. Although professionals in the West Midlands have a longstanding commitment to making sure that adult service users at kept in the centre of safeguarding processes, the Care Act leaves no doubt that it is the person, not the process, that determines how safeguarding work is taken forward by professionals.

All working in adult safeguarding have the difficult task of understanding risk, assessing the level of this for the individual and constructing a plan to manage this which works for the person concerned and is understood by those around them. This demands a sound grasp of the legal basis for their work, the agency role and function and referencing multi-agency procedures alongside professional judgement. With this in mind, the West Midlands region has produced a draft policy and procedures aimed at professionals. This is because we believe that adults with care and support needs are best protected when procedures between statutory agencies are consistent across the West Midlands region.

The Policy sets out the approach taken to adult safeguarding in the West Midlands. The Procedures then explain how agencies and individuals should work together to put the West Midlands Adult Safeguarding Policy into practice.

Because the legislation and guidance from government on adult safeguarding is new, the policy and the procedures should be seen as draft documents that will be tested out and developed extensively during 2015-2016.  I hope that you might find time to be part of local events to seek your views about your Policy and the Procedures.  Comments and suggestions about this document can also be directed to the safeguarding lead in your council.

 

Mike Taylor

Independent Chair, Warwickshire Safeguarding Adults Board, and

Chair of the West Midlands Safeguarding Adults Boards Chairs network.

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