Headlines: October 17th, 2008

Local authorities and health service professionals are being asked for their views on whether changes need to be made to measures to protect vulnerable adults from all forms of abuse in the care system. Under the existing ‘’No Secrets’ guidance councils, the police and the NHS work together to safeguard vulnerable people but now the Government wants to know what improvements could be made.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope has launched a consultation process to ensure the current guidance has kept up with changes in the social care system, particularly the new emphasis on choice and personal care and with changing forms of abuse. Specific questions which the Government wants answered include whether there is now a need for legislation.

The consultation is also seeking views on whether a national database of recommendations from serious case reviews where abuse has occurred would work. It will consider what new measures may be necessary in the light of the ‘personalisation’ of services, which has put more people in charge of their own care instead of local authorities, and what steps may be needed to deal with areas such as financial abuse. The process will continue until the end of January.

Mr. Hope said there needed to be a greater focus on prevention as well as more emphasis on protecting people from abuse in the commissioning of services and support and increased empowerment of people to determine how they wished to be safeguarded. “The consultation is particularly relevant as more people gain control of their own care. I want to help people maintain this control and independence, free from fear of abuse. I look forward to hearing people’s views and will not hesitate to take tough action to improve safeguarding for those in vulnerable situations,” he said.