The Head of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance introduced the report that detailed how the Executive Director Health Wellbeing and Adults was commissioning a Peer Review which focussed on Adult Safeguarding for 2020. This would be led by the London branch of Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and would comprise of a six reviewers, including: a Review Leader (DASS), Safeguarding Lead, Performance Lead, Finance Lead, Principle Social Working and a Review Co-ordinator.
To provide a background, 10 years ago Adult Social Care in Croydon was inspected by the Quality Care Commission (CQC). As to improve, Local Authorities (LA) across London agreed to peer review each other going forward to maintain standards. The last Peer Review in Croydon was in 2018 and focussed on ‘Use of Resources’, having been reported to the Panel, and areas for improvement were identified.
The Adult Safeguarding Peer Review programme would be an intense 3 day period involving interviews, focus groups, visits and would conclude to provide feedback to the services. Following the review, an action plan would be developed using the feedback and recommendations to implement service changes.
Croydon had identified issues of self-neglect, communication challenges, missed opportunities of support and difficulties in how to manage residents who were resistant to intervention. To tackle these, Croydon must look beyond internal discussion and seek external input and advice, which was true of other boroughs to find success through engagement. The areas of review focus should be identified early in the process to frame the assessment.
The Head of Innovation and Change stated that a self-assessment programme would evaluate Croydon’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling an action plan to be developed and acted on in the lead up to the review itself. The self-assessment was written against clear criteria provided by London ADASS, and informs key lines of the enquiry during the review.
In response to a Panel Member asking how the peer group membership would be balanced and how often a review would take place, the Head of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance stated that the group would be appointed from counterpart leads in other boroughs that were regionally focussed and a review would take place every 2-3 years.
Panel Members expressed that in relation to the themes of focus, there should be a drive to focus on residents who ‘fall through the net’ of care and how to better capture and right support to them before self-neglect and mental capacity issues set in. It was understood that it could be difficult engaging with those people who were isolated from the system and to help them choose support over isolation. The Head of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance replied that it was difficult for social workers to deal with those challenging cases but they performed resiliently; there were discussions with social workers about their impressive work and at a future Panel they could share their experiences.
In response to a Panel Member referring to 3.5 of the report and asking whether the independent expert advice team came from the expert peer group, the Head of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance confirmed and stated that outside opinions would help draw more rounded conclusions. Other authorities would work towards similar service thresholds; however, there would be variations of procedure operationally. The Head of Innovation and Change said that information sharing would take place between boroughs in the review that was a beneficial activity for all authorities to reach best practice.
The Head of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance told the Panel that terms and language was interpreted differently across different services, whether this be diverging legislation and frameworks, therefore shared understanding and dialogues was critical in service provision.