No need to wait for No Secrets review

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Tuesday November 4, 2008
Embargo: Immediate

Directors of adult social services have welcomed publication of a consultation document aimed at refreshing the adult safeguarding guidance No Secrets, and will be fully supporting the consultation process at a number of key regional events.

But they have also emphasised that there are 'steps which can be taken right now to strengthen our safeguarding framework, pending any legislative changes along the lines of the 7-point plan published last year. These include:

* Identifying and endorsing best-practice risk management tools,

* Addressing the skills and development required to support public and staff in managing risk while promoting choice and independence at the same time,

* Supporting local authorities to offer vetting and barring checks to all vulnerable adults employing a personal assistant,

* Pursuing the development of a new accreditation scheme for personal assistants.

According to ADASS safeguard leads Teresa Bell and Penny Furness-Smith "Its almost a year since we published our seven-point plan calling for greater powers and duties to be vested in local authorities and our statutory partners. This was intended to enable us to protect vulnerable adults better through a new legislative framework.

"In particular ADASS believes that the consultation framework and process enables key partners and the public to engage in the debates aimed at the heart of some major current issues. These will most certainly include the role of leadership in adult services; the development of preventive services along lines suggested by Putting People First; best practice in safeguarding, and the legislative back up needed to underpin quality services."

The joint National Leads added: "Additional ring-fenced funding is also required without which there will be an inconsistent approach to safeguarding across the country. Such funding will also help lever in additional resources from other agencies."

The Association also affirmed its concern that the proposed consultation process will also help in our thinking around safeguarding people in NHS facilities. Ms Bell and Ms Furness-Smith said: "We believe that there is scope to discuss safeguarding people against some of the major infections, and to examine the responsibilities of the NHS to adequately protect people.

"While up to now No Secrets has provided a framework to protect people we need to do more than just provide guidelines: there is a responsibility on government to address these issues within legislation."ENDS

Pictures of Ms Bell and Ms Furness-Smith available on request.

For further information contact:
Teresa Bell, ADASS Joint National Lead, Safeguarding; 01635 519730
Penny Furness-Smith, ADASS Joint National Lead, Safeguarding; 01582 547505
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Notes for Editors

The 7-Point Plan

POWERS to enter domestic properties.
A DUTY to share information between the statutory agencies and regulators.
A DUTY to cooperate.
A CLARIFICATION of the duties and powers of other local authority departments and health agencies across geographical and organisational boundaries.
A DUTY to act on or investigate complaints.
DUTIES to be laid on regulatory bodies to work in partnership with local authorities in identifying and responding to instances of potential abuse and neglect, including institutional abuse and neglect.
CLARITY of terminology.  Currently there is a range of expressions to define abuse and some inconsistency in language.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England and Northern Ireland. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.