This is a short podcast on behalf of the West Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board. Today, I will be talking to you about capturing the service user, also known as making safeguarding personal.
There may be situations where a vulnerable adult, who is someone over the age of 18, who has care and support needs, needs to be involved in a safeguarding process. It is important that the adult is supported to be as involved as possible with any concerns being reported about them, or enquiries being undertaken with them.
An enquiry is a term given to actions, led by the local authority to investigate possible abuse or neglect and decide whether any action needs to be taken, and by who.
The vulnerable adult should be involved from the very beginning by asking them or their representative for their consent to report the concern. The only occasion where this may not be possible is if it increases the risk to them or you.
Capturing the voice of the service user or making safeguarding personal is about hearing adults’ views about what they want as an outcome and what is important to them. The safeguarding process should place the vulnerable adult at the centre, this means giving opportunities at all stages of the safeguarding process for an individual to say what they would like to happen.
An adults wishes also known as a desired outcome or outcomes could vary dependent on the level of risk and the person that has caused the risk. They may include a simple change such as an apology from the person that has caused the risk, to other more significant changes such as changes to their care plan, not having contact with the person that poses a risk to them, or possible criminal conviction.
A individual may not be able to give their views during the safeguarding process if they lack capacity. They may lack capacity if their mind is impaired in some way, which means they're unable to make a decision at that time. This may include those with a mental health condition, dementia, or learning disabilities. It is important not to assume that an adult lacks capacity and be aware that in some situations capacity can fluctuate.
Where possible information regarding safeguarding should be given to the adult in the most appropriate way for their needs. This could mean reading information to them, using pictures, or in the case where capacity can fluctuate asking them at another time, however, only if this is possible and doesn’t prolong or increase the risk.
If the individual is still not able to give their views, wishes and desired outcomes or has substantial difficulty in doing so then they may require the support of a representative, this could be an unpaid family member or close friend who knows them well and understands what their wishes and outcomes may have been if they were able to be involved in the process. If there is no suitable representative, then an independent advocate would be required, this is a paid representative who can help the individual to, express their opinions, explore choices and ensure the correct procedures are followed.
The voice of the service user is a value that underpins work undertaken by the West Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board and all safeguarding services in West Sussex. For further details regarding Making Safeguarding Personal please visit our website to read our accompanying learning briefing.