To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services which presents a progress report produced on behalf of the Independent Chair of the LSAB for the Scrutiny Board’s consideration.
The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report which presented a progress report produced on behalf of the Independent Chair of the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB) for the Scrutiny Board’s consideration. The report from the LSAB included its annual report for 2020/2021 and summarised progress made against its Strategic Plan for 2021/22, as well as sharing some early thinking about its ambitions for 2022/23. Also appended for the Board’s attention was the feedback report from the Safeguarding Adults Board Peer Challenge that was undertaken as part of sector led improvement within the Yorkshire and Humber ADASS Region.
The following were in attendance for this item:
· Cllr Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships
· Cllr Salma Arif, Executive Member for Public Health and Active Lifestyles
· Caroline Baria, Interim Director of Adults and Health
· Victoria Eaton, Director of Public Health
· Shona McFarlane, Deputy Director Social Work and Social Care Service
· Richard Jones CBE, Independent Chair of Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board
The Chair welcomed the attendance of the Independent Chair of the LSAB, Richard Jones CBE, and invited him to briefly introduce the LSAB report. As part of this introduction, the Board was assured that all safeguarding partners remained committed towards developing effective ways of working collaboratively. As partners continue to recover from the impacts of Covid-19, it was highlighted that such development work involves building on innovative practice that was developed during the pandemic. Reference was also made to existing workload pressures, with the data showing an increasing trend in safeguarding referrals since 2018/19. Given the significant challenges that individuals, families and communities are now facing within the context of the current cost of living and energy crisis, Members were advised that this was also likely to create more vulnerable individuals as well as impacting those already considered vulnerable. However, the LSAB Chair explained that the increased trend in referrals could also be seen as an indicator of greater awareness of adult safeguarding and how to seek support when someone has concerns for a person’s safety and wellbeing.
When a referral is received by Leeds City Council: Adults & Health, then a decision is made on whether to undertake a safeguarding enquiry based upon the criteria set out within Section 42 of the Care Act 2014. It was highlighted that in 2021/22, there were 3101 safeguarding enquiries commenced, which equated to 25% of all referrals. While the data over recent years showed a decreasing trend in the percentage of referrals leading to Section 42 enquiries, the LSAB Chair assured Members that whenever a safeguarding enquiry is not deemed to be required, other forms of support, advice, information or other services will have often been provided dependent upon the nature of the risks, the specific concerns and the person’s particular needs.
The LSAB Chair then summarised some of the key achievements and future challenges linked to the four key ambitions of the LSAB which are: develop citizen-led approaches to safeguarding; improve awareness of safeguarding across communities and partner organisations; develop citywide approaches to safeguarding practice; and learn from experience to improve how we work.
In concluding, the LSAB Chair extended his thanks to all frontline staff, practitioners and organisations for their ongoing commitment and valuable contribution to the safeguarding agenda. A message of thanks was also passed to Cath Roff for the leadership and challenge role that she had provided as Director of Adults and Health.
The Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships also took the opportunity to reflect on the positive work of the LSAB, with references made to the cross-cutting strategy to tackle the issue of self-neglect and the key focus on citizen-led approaches to safeguarding. It was highlighted that the Council’s Executive Board had also considered the LSAB annual report during its meeting on 8th February 2023.
The following key points were also raised during the Board’s consideration of the report:
· A need for further analysis and narrative surrounding the reporting data – There was further discussion surrounding the reported data that showed the number of safeguarding referrals increasing since 2018/19 alongside a decreasing trend in the percentage of referrals leading to a Section 42 enquiry. The Board identified the need for further analysis and narrative surrounding this data to be reflected within the LSAB report. While acknowledging that it is the view of the LSAB that the increasing numbers of referrals are an indicator of greater awareness of adult safeguarding and how to seek support, such analysis would help to support this position, as well as provide further assurance that every referral, including those that do not meet the criteria for Section 42 enquiry, is responded to appropriately. The LSAB Chair agreed to feed this back to the LSAB for consideration.
The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions and acknowledged the continued hard work and commitment of the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board.
RESOLVED – That the contents of the report, along with Members comments, be noted.