A joint inspection of multi-agency arrangements for adult support and protection in Angus has praised the local partnership for its response to challenges set by the pandemic, significant increases in referrals and its considerable improvement activity agenda.
The Care Inspectorate, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland carried out an inspection between September 2022 and January 2023 as part of an ongoing Scottish Government improvement plan for Adult Support and Protection (ASP).
The report, which has been published today (Tuesday 31 January 2023), acknowledges the hard work and dedication of all those who work determinedly together to keep adults who are at risk of harm safe and protected. It recognises that the Angus partnership has demonstrated a number of key strengths while facing the ongoing challenges of recovery and remobilisation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Driving the inspection were two key questions:
How good were the partnership’s key processes for adult support and protection?
How good was the partnership’s strategic leadership for adult support and protection?
A number of areas were scrutinised during the inspection programme, and included – the analysis of supporting documentary evidence; staff surveys; the scrutiny of health, police, and social work records of adults at risk of harm; and staff focus groups.
Strengths identified by the inspectors are:
- The partnership’s person-centred approach to adult support and protection, including the regular use of advocacy to promote the adult at risk of harm’s rights.
- Investment in specific adult support and protection posts across health, police and social work in support of effective engagement and collaboration. This enabled the development of initiatives such as the Financial Abuse Support Team and Early Screening Group and contributed to good outcomes for adults at risk of harm.
- Highly effective delivery of inquiries, investigations and case conferences.
- Core group meetings for adults at risk of harm proceeding to case conference effectively oversaw risk assessment and the management of concerns.
- A comprehensive multi-agency learning and development plan. Learning delivered using a range of digital and face-to-face methods and open to all agencies, which had a positive impact on adult support and protection practice.
- A clear, well understood vision for adult support and protection, supported by an Adult Protection Committee strategic delivery plan.
- The established Adult Protection Committee and sub-group structure had progressed most improvement actions and supported delivery of statutory functions. This included the operation of a risk register to monitor practice and provide reassurance.
- A strong response to the pandemic, incorporating a wellbeing approach to supporting staff, a structured response to care home assurance and an increase in the frequency of overview meetings.
The inspection report also identified key areas for improvement. These are:
- Recording of adult support and protection practice in case records varied in consistency and content. This was more evident in the application of the three-point criteria and the recording of actions taken to manage risk for those adults who did not progress beyond inquiry and investigation stages
- The quality of chronologies had improved but needed progressed to include better recording of multi-agency information, significant life events and impact. This would further enhance decision making around risk.
- The quality assurance framework needed to be further embedded to include a frequent multi-agency approach to monitor change and sustainability more effectively. This should include frontline practitioners and adults with lived experience of adult support and protection.
- The Adult Protection Committee had recently refined their improvement plan, but further consolidation was needed. Both this and the annual performance reporting approach impacted on the visibility of change and timely identification of trends or issues.
- Strategic service user engagement and awareness raising were recognised by the partnership as areas for improvement. Recently developed plans should be progressed to support feedback and engagement with adults at risk with lived experience in the strategic work.
Independent Chair of the Angus Adult Protection Committee, Ewen West said:
“I am happy with the findings of the Inspection which have identified a number of key strengths around Adult Protection work in Angus. I particularly welcome the positive comments that the key processes in this area of work were very effective, resulting in positive experiences and outcomes for vulnerable adults.
“The Inspection Report’s findings are a consequence of the very professional manner in which all the staff and agencies work with vulnerable adults and support them to improve their situations and quality of life. The Partnership working in Angus is extremely good, with all agencies participating in frontline operational activity, as well as supporting the necessary strategic objectives set out in the Committee’s Strategic Plan.
“Going forward, the Committee will respond positively to the observations in the Report that highlight where continued improvement could be achieved so as to further improve outcomes for those adults identified at risk of harm.”
Margo Williamson, Chair of the Angus Chief Officers Group said: “Chief Officers are pleased to accept the findings of this inspection and take the opportunity to sincerely thank staff across all our agencies for the work they do to support and protect vulnerable adults.
“Adult support and protection remain a high priority for us all. Whilst we are assured that we have robust systems and processes in place that support good practice, we acknowledge there are areas for improvement and will continue to work in partnership to deliver the best services for vulnerable people. We also extend our thanks to our Independent Chair Mr Ewen West for his continued commitment and leadership of our Adult Protection Committee.”
The Angus Adult Protection Committee (AAPC) is the local strategic planning partnership responsible for developing and implementing adult protection policy and strategy. AAPC functions include reviewing adult protection practices, improving cooperation, improving skills and knowledge, providing information and advice and promoting good communication.
Its multi-agency membership includes representatives of NHS Tayside, Police Scotland, Angus Health & Social Care Partnership, Angus Council and others with a role to play in public protection.
The AAPC reports to Angus Chief Officer Group (COG) via the Independent Chair.
Angus Chief Officer Group for Public Protection (COG) brings together agencies with a role to play in public protection, including Angus Council, Police Scotland, NHS Tayside, Angus Health & Social Care Partnership, the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service, Scotland’s Children’s Reporter Administration and voluntary sector partners to provide strategic leadership in developing effective public protection services for people at risk of harm in Angus.
Individually agencies are responsible for the public protection services delivered by our own organisations. Collectively, they are responsible for developing and delivering the best services possible through partnership working. Angus Health and Social Care Partnership (Angus HSCP) is responsible for the delivery of social care and community-based health services for all adults in Angus. The Angus Integration Joint Board (IJB) – the Partnership’s board of governance, strategy and scrutiny – is responsible for its delegated health and social care functions.