Research shows that a significant number of abuse and neglect incidents involve professionals, care workers and managers – i.e. people paid to care for and advise Adults at Risk.
This fact places a responsibility both on staff and care workers, and those responsible for the practice of paid staff and care workers – in terms of management and supervision – to ensure that they are safe to work with Adults at Risk. This means that all the processes and checks surrounding who works with Adults at Risk and how they work must incorporate the avoidance of abuse including:
- Robust recruitment procedures;
- The policies and procedures staff/carers work to;
- How staff/carers are inducted and trained, especially concerning professional standards, policy and procedures and the possibility of abuse;
- How staff/carers are supervised and supported;
- Appropriate disciplinary procedures to deal with unsuitable staff/carers;
- Appropriate referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service, (formally known as the Criminal Records Bureau/Independent Safeguarding Authority) where staff/carers are considered unsuitable to work with Adults at Risk or to professional bodies;
- Whistleblowing policy and procedures
Many professions also have a code of conduct, or similarly named documents, which set out good practice for the profession. Some examples of these are those for doctors, nurses, solicitors, occupational therapists and social care workers. By definition, action in default of the code of conduct involving an Adult at Risk may constitute abuse or neglect. Professional bodies also have the authority to strike staff from the register in certain circumstances.
It is the responsibility of managers and agencies to monitor performance and to intervene if risks exist. If, however, managers do not take this responsibility seriously, then it is the responsibility of peers and others involved to take action using agencies’ whistleblowing and abuse polices.