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Good practice guidance for professionals

Professionals working in social care, healthcare, police, the voluntary sector, probation, housing, adult education, fire service, prisons and approved premises, commissioned providers and Job Centre Plus are all expected to have a sound knowledge of safeguarding adults.

A sound knowledge of safeguarding adults includes:

  • being able to recognise and report abuse and neglect
  • co-operating with all types of safeguarding enquiries and police investigations
  • taking part in safeguarding enquiries under Section 42 of the Care Act 2014

The County Durham Inter Agency Policies, procedures and forms meet the requirements of the Care Act and the Care and Support Statutory Guidance which is regularly updated. We also keep up to date with good practice guidance from organisations such as Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).

The policies and procedures ensure that relevant organisations and services work together to prevent abuse and neglect, and support adults who may have been abused or neglected. Training is also identified to ensure these requirements are adhered to.

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

SCIE improves the lives of people who use care services by sharing knowledge about what works. Their resources, training and consultancy services can help safeguarding boards, care providers, housing providers and local authorities to protect children and adults at risk of abuse or neglect.

NHS England Safeguarding app

The NHS Safeguarding app supports frontline staff and citizens with 24-hour mobile access to up to date safeguarding guidance and local contacts to report safeguarding concerns. Download the free safeguarding app from your app store.

To find out more visit the NHS website: 

Learning from Safeguarding Adults Reviews

Most Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SARs) find that the main areas of practice improvement are better use of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and working collaboratively and information sharing.

Another finding is about the use of professional curiosity.

Mental Capacity Act 2005: What good looks like

DSAP has produced a series of guides on using the Mental Capacity Act 2005:

Information sharing 

The multi-agency safeguarding partnerships in County Durham recognise the importance of sharing relevant and proportionate information to safeguard adults. Sometimes practitioners can lack confidence about when they should share information and whether they need consent to do so.

Durham Safeguarding Adults Partnership (DSAP) has produced an Information Sharing Agreement to help provide clarity about when and where the information can be shared and in what circumstances consent may be required.

Durham Safeguarding Adults Partnership has revised the Good Practice Toolkit on Collaborative Working and Information Sharing between Professionals to protect Adults, to accompany the Information Sharing Agreement drawn up between the DSAP partners.

Sometimes Safeguarding Adults Reviews have found an apparent reluctance to challenge interagency decision-making in safeguarding where there are differences of opinion. Proactive challenge may have altered the professional response and the outcome for the adult. The Managing Professional Differences procedure give examples of situations when differences of opinion may arise, and the agreed procedure for constructive professional challenge to resolve them in County Durham.

Closed Cultures

Organisational abuse is one of the types and patterns of abuse illustrated by the Care and Support Statutory Guidance. The combination of structure, policies, procedures, and practice that can result in organisational abuse has been identified as a closed culture. Both the Care Quality Commission and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have given guidance on how to recognise the risks and warning signs that may lead to a closed culture.

DSAP has produced a briefing to support identification of the risks of a closed culture and suggestions for practice.

Duty of Candour

Duty of Candour is a legal duty on NHS bodies, adult social care, primary, medical and dental care, independent healthcare and all provider organisations registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to support, inform and apologise to patients and service users if there have been mistakes in their care or treatment that have led to moderate harm. The CQC has provided guidance:

Self-neglect and adult safeguarding

Self-neglect is a type of abuse recognised in the Care and Support Statutory Guidance and is never a lifestyle choice. A DSAP briefing has been developed to share guidance and messages.

Hoarding and self-neglect

Self-neglect 7 minute briefings

The North East SAR Champions have developed a series of 7-minute briefings on self-neglect; see below.

Domestic abuse and safeguarding adults

Domestic violence and abuse can be carried out by partners, ex-partners, and family members, and is a type of abuse recognised in the Care and Support Statutory Guidance. A DSAP briefing has been developed to share guidance and messages.

Honour-based violence, forced marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

A guidance document has been developed by the Durham Safeguarding Adults Partnership in conjunction with the Safe Durham Partnership and the Durham Safeguarding Children Partnership to help raise awareness of honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM and to provide guidance.

Resident to Resident Abuse

Sometimes an adult may be harmed by another adult when they both live in organised accommodation. This briefing sets out when it might happen, risk factors, suggestions for action, and other considerations for professionals and managers.

Sexual exploitation

A guidance document has been developed jointly with Darlington Safeguarding Partnership to help raise awareness of sexual exploitation and provide information on how to report it if you suspect someone is being exploited.

Modern slavery

Modern slavery is a type of abuse recognised in the Care and Support Statutory Guidance. A reference guide is available to help identify modern slavery, and with information about processes in place to help people. If you suspect that modern slavery is taking place call the Modern Slavery helpline or the police - do not confront the trafficking gang yourself.

Modern Slavery helpline: 0800 012 1700

Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published: