Agenda item

East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) Annual Report 2022 - 2023


15.1     The Board considered a report on the East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) Annual Report 2022/23. Seona Douglas, Interim Independent Chair East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board gave a short presentation on the key points contained within the report, setting out the legal requirements, a summary of the Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs) activity and the five priorities contained within the report.


15.2     Board members commented that they were pleased that the issue of transitions for children to adult services, particularly for those with learning disabilities, is mentioned in theme one in the report. Board members also commented on the work under theme two, for women with multiple needs in relation to chronic trauma, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, and domestic abuse and the audit of the multi-agency approach to work in this area. It was noted that the Probation Service action on gaining the adults voice and views in this work.


15.3     Seona Douglas responded that although some years ago there was an issue around learning disabilities it is now much more an issue about substance abuse and mental health issues. It continues to be important to make sure the voices of residents and service users are sought and heard. Evidence from Safeguarding Adult Reviews shows this is a national issue particularly for people with mental health issues where they are not being asked their views. There is a continuing need to ensure that questions are being asked to get people’s views.


15.4     The Board noted that financial abuse has become more widespread. It asked if someone with capacity who is identified as being financially abused does not want any action taken, whether there are any powers to continue to act, as is the case with the Police and domestic abuse. Also, should there be legislative change to help tackle financial abuse in situations like this where there may be coercive control.


15.5     Seona Douglas noted that there had been legislative change to help deal with domestic abuse and the Police can still sometimes find it difficult to take a case to court if someone does not want to co-operate with them. In terms of safeguarding, frontline staff do ensure people are protected from financial abuse and it is not necessarily the case that staff will stop working with people where they do not want to engage. Learning from Safeguarding Reviews means that someone saying they do not wish to engage is no longer a sufficient reason to close a case. There are other routes such as Care Act assessments where professionals can try to provide support to ensure someone is protected. There are also processes, such as multi agency panels, where agencies come together to try and provide wrap around support for someone in order to find a solution. The Care Act is currently being reviewed to consider giving statutory powers of entry to local authority social workers, which is currently being debated in the sector. Local authorities already have a degree of autonomy to work with people to help protect them and Seona was not sure that a change in the law would help, given the need to balance the individual’s rights and the use of statutory measures to protect them.


15.6     Mark Stainton, Director of Adult Social Care and Health, added that if someone refuses to engage (as is common in cases of self-neglect) the authority does not walk away from these issues and tries to find a way to work with that person, such as through the multi-agency approach where other professionals may be able to provide help. In cases of coercion and control, the authority tries to triangulate and corroborate what a person is saying by other means. This would include trying to speak to the person on their own in a safe environment away from the person who maybe be attempting to exercise control and offer them a range of opportunities to make their views known.


15.7     The Board asked if a parent wanted to keep a child indoors for cultural reasons and not access education or meet other family members, whether it would be considered to be a safeguarding issue. Alison Jeffery, Director of Children’s Services, responded that yes it could be a safeguarding issue depending on the circumstances.


15.8     The Board RESOLVED to note the East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Annual report for 2022/23.


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