To receive the Annual Report of the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board 2020/21
Paul Yeatman, (Independent Chair of the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board), and Sarah Jasper, (Head of Safeguarding (Adults) at Gloucestershire County Council), presented the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board Annual Report 2020/21.
Seeking to protect and empower adults with care and support needs and at risk of abuse and neglect, the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board was established in April 2009 in response to Government, (Department of Health), Legislation.
The Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board (GSAB) Strategic Plan focuses on several key priorities, enabling the Board to strategically review and plan its work. The priorities reflect the direction set out in current national drivers for change and are based on the six key principles that underpin all adult safeguarding work, (as defined by the Care Act, 2014).
Working in partnership with local communities, the Board aims to:-
Ø prevent abuse and neglect;
Ø identify and report abuse and neglect;
Ø respond to abuse and neglect;
Ø support people who have suffered abuse or neglect to recover, and to regain trust in those around them; and
Ø raise awareness of safeguarding adults and the role everyone can play in responding to, and preventing, abuse and neglect.
From April 2015, the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board has a statutory responsibility to produce an annual report into the effectiveness and quality of multi-agency safeguarding practice. The purpose of the GSAB Annual Report is to review progress in relation to the actions set out in the GSAB Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan covers a three year period, as recommended by the Care Act Statutory Guidance. A new Strategic Plan was being produced, covering the period 2021-2024. Replacing the 2015-18 Plan, it is hoped the new plan will go live in September 2021
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report acknowledged that the past year had been an unprecedented year in the demands placed on delivering Adult Social Care services The case studies included in the report highlighted some of the challenges that had been evident both nationally and throughout Gloucestershire.
In noting the report, members sought clarification on several areas of concern, including what action was being taken to ensure the positive multi-agency work being carried out did not cease at a certain point in a person’s recovery. Questioning how the committee might support this work and help signpost people to seek the help they need, it was suggested members continue to strive to raise awareness in local communities of the services available to people in need of support and to become involved whenever they feel intervention and support is required.
Unable to comment or discuss individual cases at the meeting, it was suggested members with specific concerns email Sarah Jasper after the meeting to raise their concerns.
It was acknowledged that, as a result of the pandemic, a significant number of services had ‘shut down’, clearly impacting on the lives of vulnerable people and those at most risk. It was hoped the introduction of new government interventions would help address some of the issues that had evolved during this time, including the initiative to reduce the number of people from rough sleeping.
Reflecting on the number of people suffering from alcohol abuse, a member enquired why there had been no reference to people affected by drug abuse included within the report. It was noted that drug abuse did not just relate to young people, (people aged between 18 and 24), but to people from all age ranges. It was confirmed that people suffering from substance misuse had not gone away and explained that there had been a large number of alcohol related deaths during the pandemic, hence the focus on alcohol abuse in the report. Going forward, it was hoped government funding and new initiatives would help address issues relating to both alcohol and substance abuse.
Highlighting the need to maintain the momentum of the work involved in safeguarding vulnerable adults with specific needs, the report was noted.