Facts, figures and trends
Central Bedfordshire Council received 1,100 alerts during the year, a decrease of 251 from the previous year. 238 alerts progressed to investigation, 22% of the total alerts, which is a decrease from the previous year (33%). This is as a consequence of the external case file audit which prompted the Council to review its use of the safeguarding process and ensure that decisions made to initiate the process were proportionate.
In addition to the safeguarding activity, there were 675 contacts made to the safeguarding team, which were not treated as safeguarding alerts as no abuse or neglect was alleged. This made total activity during the year of 1,775 contacts. Discussion has been held within the multi agency partnership about the volume of contacts to the safeguarding teams. It has been agreed that while potentially not a safeguarding concern at the point of information being shared, this may be useful intelligence about a vulnerable person and that the safeguarding teams are able to provide a point of contact for this information. Nonetheless, there is still a need to clarify professional referral routes for vulnerable people to receive an assessment of need as the level of contacts does indicate the safeguarding teams are being used as an access route for referral and assessment services.
The majority of referrals relating to older people come from residential and nursing homes (20%) and health services (17%). The majority of alerts relating to people under the age of 65 come from mental health services (22%) and residential and nursing homes (16%). There are a large number of alerts from “other” categories – these are for example from the regulator, voluntary agencies, prison and probation services, which individually account for small numbers of referrals. There has been a considerable increase in referrals from adult social care staff since the previous year.
A significant figure to note is the large proportion of referrals in relation to people over the age of 65, made by primary or community health care staff. This trend was notable in the previous year’s figures. It is likely that community health care workers will be those who come in to frequent contact with older people living in their own homes. Given that there has been an increase in incidents within people’s own homes, it is also notable that reports by family members remain low, and have decreased from last year, meaning that safeguarding teams remain reliant upon the community professionals that work with people’s homes - adult social care, domiciliary care and health services staff.
Physical abuse remains the most common type of abuse in relation to people under 65 and with neglect being the most common in relation to people over the age of 65. There continues to be a slight decrease in the number of referrals relating to physical, financial, discriminatory abuse. The proportion of referrals for neglect remains constant at 36%. No incidents of institutional abuse were reported.
There has been a slight increase in the proportion of incidents over the year occurring in the persons own home, from 57% in 2013-14 to 58% in 2014-15 and also a slight increase of 1% in incidents in care homes. No incidents took place in a hospital setting.
It is possible to conclude that safeguarding referrals are more common in respect of allegations of neglect and acts of omission, in relation to older white women, living either in their own home or in a care home, receiving paid care and support. Safeguarding referrals in relation to people with a learning disability are more likely to involve physical abuse. There is also a higher incidence of reports of allegations of sexual abuse and emotional abuse in relation to people with learning disabilities. The person causing harm is more likely to be a family member, friend or neighbour, but locations can vary across supported living, residential accommodation and the person’s own home.
Last updated Friday, 22nd April 2016