Strategic Plan 2022-23

The Care Act 2014 states that the purpose of a Safeguarding Adults Board is to assure itself that local safeguarding arrangements and partners act to help and protect adults in its area who meet the statutory criteria for safeguarding, that is an adult who

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs)
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.

Further a Board should:

  • prevent harm and reduce the risk of abuse or neglect to adults with care and support needs
  • stop abuse or neglect wherever possible
  • safeguard adults in a way that supports them in making choices and having control about how they want to live
  • promote an approach that concentrates on improving life for the adults concerned
  • raise public awareness so that communities as a whole, alongside professionals, play their part in preventing, identifying and responding to abuse and neglect
  • provide information and support in accessible ways to help people understand the different types of abuse, how to stay safe and what to do to raise a concern about the safety or well-being of an adult
  • address what has caused the abuse or neglect

The role of the Board is to

  • ensure that everyone, both individuals and organisations, are clear about their roles and responsibilities
  • create strong multi-agency partnerships that provide timely and effective prevention of and responses to abuse or neglect
  • support the development of a positive learning environment across these partnerships and at all levels within them to help break down cultures that are risk-averse and seek to scapegoat or blame practitioners
  • enable access to mainstream community resources such as accessible leisure facilities, safe town centres and community groups that can reduce the social and physical isolation which in itself may increase the risk of abuse or neglect
  • clarify how responses to safeguarding concerns deriving from the poor quality and inadequacy of service provision, including patient safety in the health sector, should be responded to

To refresh its strategy the Board leadership has been consulting with its membership and engaged its membership in dialogue to explore an appropriate future direction. One of the key features of the dialogue to emerge has been the importance of engaging those in the City of Portsmouth who are directly involved in safeguarding adults at risk and those who need safeguarding. In respect of the former, Board members were keen to ensure that frontline workers are able to work effectively, confidently and competently with each other, and with the residents of Portsmouth so that those at risk are protected and properly engaged. By engaging with service user groups, the Board believes it will understand the needs of those adults at risk better and be able to ensure that frontline workers can respond to individuals with respect, supporting them in making choices and have control about how they want to live. The Board is also confident that closer engagement with service user groups will help it to ensure that abuse and neglect can be prevented by having better intelligence about what creates the possibility of harm to those adults at risk.

Portsmouth Health and Wellbeing Board has established that addressing the underlying factors that put people at risk of poor outcomes is essential. The relative picture of health is poorer in Portsmouth compared to the rest of the Southeast region. In addition, positive relationships (or the lack of) underpin many of the biggest challenges we face, from domestic abuse to poor mental health to social isolation for both the young and the old. Connectedness with each other, your family, your community underpins many outcomes. Evidence shows that people with high levels of social connectedness have longer and happier lives and are less dependent on public services by utilising their social capital. We further know that people experiencing trauma struggle to develop and maintain positive relationships and connectedness due to what is known as ‘blocked trust’.

Given the specific purpose of a safeguarding adults board, the PSAB’s new strategy and action plan is designed to contribute alongside the Health and Wellbeing Board and other statutory partners to promoting improvements in the way front line workers engage with service users at risk of abuse and neglect. The PSAB recognises that frontline workers in the City already do a good job but the Board believes that it can support those achievements by a greater investment in encouraging engagement, especially with service users group that have previously not always been included in this area of work, such as homeless adults and adults who use substances as a support.

The Board has agreed that significant focus should be concentrated on the following groups:

  • Homeless adults
  • Substance misusing adults
  • Young adults who are transitioning from children’s services
  • Learning disabled adults
  • Adults living in residential/nursing home care or who need extra care or supported living or domiciliary care
  • Adults who are socially isolated through mental health problems

The Board will work to develop improved community engagement with these communities by establishing a specific subgroup to champion communication.

To help frontline workers to work together collaboratively and with the service user’s needs at the centre of their efforts, the Board will promote better joint working with a across agency training needs analysis, learning events that encourage dialogue and better communication, improved supervision and a new Safeguarding Adults Leads Network with representatives from all agencies. The network will help to spearhead practice improvements.

The Board will continue its statutory efforts to review experience when things have not gone as planned and it will seek to publicise best practice through newsletters and websites. The Board itself will aim to work differently. To promote better communication between frontline workers, the Board will engage more regularly in workshop style communication so that information sharing at a strategic level is improved. It will also be more focused in holding its member agencies to account for their work to safeguarding adults at risk.

The Board has agreed an ambitious 12-month action plan to kick start the goals mentioned here. It will review its progress towards the end of those 12 months and adjust where appropriate before exploring how to make further progress in the coming years.

Download a copy of the Strategic Plan and 12-month action plan here.