Self-Assessment Audit Tool – What is it?
In line with the statutory responsibilities under the Care Act 2014, in order to assure the safeguarding adult board that; agencies are effectively safeguarding adults at risk an agency self-assessment audit tool was developed for agencies to complete.
During 2017 the self- assessment audit tool was developed and in 2018 was piloted with the three statutory partners of the board which included: Peterborough city council local authority, Cambridgeshire county council local authority, Cambridgeshire constabulary and the clinical commissioning group.
The remaining agencies, who make up, the membership of the adults quality effectiveness group (QEG) and others were asked to complete and submit the self – assessment audit tool by the end of December 2018. Alongside this, practitioners of those agencies undertaking the self-assessment audit tool, were given the opportunity to complete an anonymous survey (Survey Monkey) to gather their views and thoughts about some of those questions contained within the self-assessment audit tool. In total 406 professionals completed the survey.
What did we find out?
Good areas of practice identified within the self-assessment audit tool:-
- Escalation policy process was mentioned as part of multi-agency working
- There were illustrations of where policies had made a difference to practice and the environment for working with an adult at risk
- Reminder cards given to staff about safeguarding
- In some instances there was evidence recorded that service users were asked what they want to happen to them
- Some agencies actively audited cases to examine practice
- Safeguarding, for some agencies, was reportedly noted as being in every job description
- Some agencies evidenced that they displayed safeguarding posters with contacts written on and that they included links to the SAB website
- There was evidence that people who were assessed as adults at risk were asked to sign consent forms for sharing information, if there is a safeguarding concern
Areas to Improve on
Both the self-assessment audit tool and the survey suggest that professionals know where to find and how to access their policies and procedures regarding safeguarding adults at risk. The survey responses showed that 86% of professionals know how to access their policies, although 14% (47 people) indicated that they did not. It was not clear from the evidence given from the self-assessment audit tools whether policies and procedures are up to date.
The self-assessment audit tool showed that staff knew about policies and procedures relating to allegations made against staff. However, there was no evidence given to show that professionals had accessed the policies nor if there had been any referrals / reported concerns within the agency. The survey supported agencies, in that only 6% of respondents (19 people) did not know what to do if they had a safeguarding concern about a staff member.
Most agencies reported that they had a clear Whistleblowing Policy in place. However there was no evidence as to whether the policies had been used by staff and although 87% of survey respondents indicated that there was a clear whistleblowing policy within their agency only 76% felt confident to use it.
Safeguarding adults at risk.100 % of professionals surveyed said that if they knew an adult at risk was being abused or neglected that they would report it. 96% said they knew what to do if they had a concern about an adult at risk and 88% felt that they were confident that they could recognise the signs and indicators of abuse. However, 41 people (12%) did not feel confident.
Information sharing. Agencies struggled with this question within the self-assessment audit tool and 85% of respondents from the survey said they felt confident about sharing information in relation to an adult at risk when consent had been obtained. However, 70 professionals (15%) of those surveyed stated that they were not confident about sharing information. There is still much work to do on information sharing and working together to safeguard adults at risk. This is a theme that we regularly observe within safeguarding adult reviews that professionals do not share information that they know about an adult at risk that informs risk assessments and support needed for them. Staff need to know where policies, procedures are and who to go to for advice if they are not sure about sharing information.
Supervision, although there was some inconsistency reported regarding the frequency and type of supervision available to professionals within an organisation, 95% of respondents to the survey indicated that they did receive supervision and support within their role.
Safeguarding Lead. ¾ of respondents to the survey said that they knew who the safeguarding lead was within their organisation; though 24% (81 people) did not.
Safeguarding Training – questions related to training or induction, within the self- assessment audit tools, were scored a green (fully met) by agencies. However, the survey suggests that 91 people (27%) have not accessed safeguarding adult training and to date the SAB has only just released its endorsement process and has one training course endorsed. Safeguarding training, that is endorsed by the board as being up to date and fit for purpose, is an area identified for agencies to work on.
Voice of the adult. This was barely mentioned nor evidenced within all of self-assessment audit tools and where it was this was in relation to providing information to the adult at risk. As professionals we need to find out what ‘the lived in experience’ of the adult at risk is like either by asking them, speaking to their family/carers or making observations. This needs to be an embedded part of safeguarding practice.
Cultural competence. This is an area that is about the wider protected characteristics of individuals, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and mental health. Although diversity and equality was referred to in some self-assessment audit tools there was very little in terms of evidence about cultural competence and an understanding of what good practice looks like within this area. Agencies need to show how staff put into practice how they work with adults at risk and their families and how they don’t make assumptions and do find out about the lived experience of the adult.
The self-assessment audit tool will be a bi-annual event for all safeguarding partners and the tool is to be developed to reflect some of the learning points, from the use of the tool, regarding the types of questions used and structure.
Safeguarding Board Website: https://www.safeguardingcambspeterborough.org.uk/adults-board/
Reporting a Safeguarding Concern: https://www.safeguardingcambspeterborough.org.uk/concerned/
Multi-Agency Safeguarding Training: https://www.safeguardingcambspeterborough.org.uk/availabletraining/