The Health & Social Care Sub-Committee is asked to: -
1. Note the Croydon Safeguarding Adult Board Annual Report 2020-2021
2. Consider whether there are any considerations or concerns it may wishes to submit to the Cabinet during its consideration of the Annual Report.
3. In particular, give consideration as to whether the Annual Report provides sufficient reassurance on the performance and effectiveness of the Croydon Safeguarding Adult Board.
The Sub-Committee considered the Annual Report for 2020-21 from the Croydon Safeguarding Adults Board, as set out on pages 11 to 56 of the agenda, with a view to reassuring itself on the performance of the Board, prior to the report’s consideration by the Cabinet.
The Chair of the Board, Annie Callanan provided an introduction to the report. A copy of the presentation delivered can be viewed on the following link: -
Following the introduction, the Sub-Committee was provided with the opportunity to question the Chair and others from the Board who were in attendance on the content of the report. The first question asked for an explanation of the Serious Adult Review (SAR) process. It was advised that a SAR was a procedure used when something either went wrong within Adult Social Care or there was concern about abuse or neglect. When this procedure was triggered the case was referred to the Serious Adult Review Group who reviewed all aspects of the case to establish what had gone wrong and to make recommendations for improvements.
In response to a question about how the Board could reassure itself about the performance of unregulated services operating in the borough, it was acknowledged that these were a concern. It could be particularly difficult to monitor unregulated services if they were purchased by the service user through the direct payment system, but some degree of assurance could be gained through processes which meant care packages were regularly reviewed. It was also important to utilise the experience of others in the care network, such as CASSUP, Healthwatch Croydon and GPs, to identify any potential concerns.
It was questioned how the voice of the people had been incorporated in the report and whether there were further plans to engage with people in Croydon. It was confirmed that work on engaging with the voice of the people had been underway for some time with progress made in engaging with senior representatives in BAME communities. Croydon was recognised as being at the forefront of engagement work in London, which included the involvement of representatives from three underrepresented groups and ensuring the experience of people using safeguarding services was captured.
It was highlighted that there had been a marked decline in the number of referrals made during the pandemic and as such it was questioned whether this may have increase the risk of people being missed. It was confirmed that a decline in the number of referrals was a common trend across the country and it was difficult to identify one specific reason for this. Croydon was fortunate to have a very good intelligence sharing group that helped to identify referrals, and during the pandemic the type of referrals received had tended to be more complex. In order to get a full understanding of an episode, the Board would seek the professional view of the information provided from the responsible manager, to supplement the data.
In response to a question about the risk of people potentially falling through gaps created by the pandemic, it was confirmed that the Board was engaged with four sub-groups including the Safeguarding Adults Review Group and the Voice of the People Group. This helped with cross checking and reviewing information. Reassurance was given by the Board Chair that the Board in Croydon was fully engaged and staff had worked throughout the pandemic.
It was likely that following the pandemic there would be an increase in the number of people coming into safeguarding, but the service worked with communities and health colleagues to minimise gaps wherever possible. However, the pandemic had brought issues to the fore such as mental health, particularly isolation, fuel poverty, unemployment and homelessness.
At the conclusion of this item the Chair of the Board extended her thanks to the partners and the Board for all its support throughout the pandemic. The Vice Chair also thanked the Chair of the board and others in attendance for their engagement with the questions of the Sub-Committee.
At the end of this item, the Health and Social Care Sub-Committee reached the following conclusions:-
1. Given the concerns raised about the impact of the pandemic on the level of safeguarding referrals, the Sub-Committee had been reasonably reassured by the responses given to their questions.
2. It was recognised that there may be gaps unmet as a result of the pandemic, but it was reassuring that these would continue to be targeted by the Board and its partners.