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). The report reflected upon the LSAB Annual Report 2022/2023 and LSAB Strategic Plans for 2023/24 and provided an account of the progress being achieved to safeguard adults at risk of abuse and neglect. Safeguarding performance data had also been provided by the Adults and Health Directorate as additional information for the Board’s consideration.
The following were in attendance:
· Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships
· Caroline Baria, Interim Director of Adults and Health
· Victoria Eaton, Director of Public Health
· Shona McFarlane, Deputy Director Social Work and Social Care Service
· Rob Wood, Intelligence & Policy Manager
· Richard Jones CBE, Independent Chair of the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board
The Chair welcomed the attendance of the Independent Chair of the LSAB and invited him to briefly introduce the LSAB report. The LSAB Chair began by explaining that while the LSAB does not deliver any frontline safeguarding services, it does work strategically to coordinate the work of its members and other agencies and ensures the effectiveness of what each of its members does. Linked to this, Safeguarding Adults Boards have specific duties which relate to producing Annual Reports, Strategic Plans and the undertaking of Safeguarding Adults Reviews. The LSAB Chair then took the opportunity to formally relay his thanks to all frontline staff across the statutory agencies and also those from Third Sector organisations for their ongoing commitment and valuable contribution to the safeguarding agenda.
Within the report, the Board’s attention was drawn to the seven key areas of priority and the LSAB Chair elaborated on 3 areas in particular. The first area related to the work undertaken to promote awareness of safeguarding services and increasing confidence to reach out to statutory agencies amongst ethnically diverse communities. The second area was around building on existing multi-agency working to continue improving the effectiveness and coordination of this approach. The third area was around the development and implementation of the Leeds Self Neglect Strategy and the ambition to embed a citywide culture of support and understanding of self-neglect across the city that will lead to improved outcomes of people at risk.
The following areas were also discussed during the Board’s consideration of the report:
· Increasing numbers of safeguarding concerns being raised – In consideration of the safeguarding performance data provided by the Adults and Health directorate, attention was drawn to the increasing numbers of safeguarding concerns being raised. The LSAB Chair explained that this increasing trend was being mirrored nationally given the context of Covid and the current cost of living crisis creating more vulnerable individuals as well as impacting those already considered vulnerable. It was also considered a reflection of the proactive efforts that have been made across statutory agencies and Third Sector organisations to generate greater awareness of adult safeguarding and how to seek support when someone has concerns for a person’s safety and wellbeing.
· A citywide approach and understanding around self-neglect – In recognition of an increasing trend in safeguarding referrals linked to self-neglect, Members welcomed the move to embed a citywide culture of support and understanding of self-neglect across the city that will lead to improved outcomes of people at risk. Members also recognised the close links between self-neglect risks and suicide and noted that the Scrutiny Board will have the opportunity to consider the new Suicide Prevention Action Plan during its February meeting.
· Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SARs) – the LSAB Chair explained the processes linked to undertaking SARs and highlighted the key purpose of SARs in terms of identifying learning that can be used to improve outcomes for others. It was also reported that the new approach adopted by the LSAB is to consider the need to seek agency assurances in relation to any SAR referral, irrespective of whether this meets the SAR criteria. This approach has been trailed since the beginning of the year and is proving to be beneficial in identifying learning and improving practice in a far wider range of cases than previously.
· Staffing capacity – The Interim Director of Adults and Health explained that while the directorate continues to face challenges in recruiting to social worker posts, which is reflective of the national picture, the safeguarding agenda will always remain the directorate’s number one priority. When dealing with referrals, Members were also assured that whenever a safeguarding enquiry is not deemed to be required, other forms of support, advice, information or signposting to other services will still be undertaken dependent upon the nature of the risks, the specific concerns and the person’s particular needs.
· Health and wellbeing support to staff – Members recognised the importance of staff being able to access support in terms of their own health and wellbeing and the Deputy Director Social Work and Social Care Service explained that mechanisms are in place to ensure there is effective supervision and opportunities to have regular wellbeing conversations with their managers and their peers.
· Working with wider Safeguarding Partnerships – It was noted that the LSAB works closely with wider strategic safeguarding partnerships within
the city, and across the region. This is supported by regular joint meetings between the respective chairs of the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership and Safer Stronger Communities, and close working relationships between the respective business/support units. Members particularly recognised the importance of working closely with the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership as part of the transition process as vulnerable young people move towards accessing adult support services.
The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions and acknowledged the continued hard work and commitment of the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board.
RESOLVED - That the report, along with Members comments, be noted.