2016 Conference Presentation
Objectives: Professionals express divergent views about whether adults at risk are best served by safeguarding work being incorporated into social workers’ case work or being undertaken by specialist workers within local area or centralised teams. This paper draws on findings from the final two phases of a three-phase study which aimed to identify a typology of different models of organising adult safeguarding and compare the advantages and disadvantages of these. We used mixed-methods to investigate four different models of organising adult safeguarding which we termed: (A) Dispersed-Generic, (B) Dispersed-Specialist, (C) Partly-Centralised-Specialist and (D) Fully-Centralised-Specialist.
Methods and data: In each model we analysed staff interviews (n=38), staff survey responses (n=206), feedback interviews (with care home managers, solicitors and Independent Mental Capacity Advocates) (n=28), Abuse of Vulnerable Adults (AVA) Returns, Adult Social Care User Survey Returns (ASCS) and service costs. This paper focuses on qualitative data from staff and feedback interviews and the staff survey.
Findings: Our findings focus on safeguarding as a specialism; safeguarding practice (including multi-agency working, prioritisation, tensions, handover, staff confidence and de-skilling); and managing safeguarding. Local Authority (LA) participants described and commented on the advantages and disadvantages of their organisational model. Feedback interviews offered different perspectives on safeguarding services and implications of different models.
Policy implications: How adult safeguarding is organised has implications for quality of services for adults at risk and this is of interest to practitioners and policy makers alike.