Safeguarding Planning | Salford Safeguarding Adults Board

Safeguarding Planning



A strategy meeting is needed when further planning or discussion with partner agencies is required to decide whether abuse has taken place and/or what protective measures might be needed. A strategy meeting usually takes place early before a section 42 enquiry to determine what needs to happen right away to protect anyone at risk and agree who is doing what. A strategy meeting may be needed to:

  • share complex information from different sources
  • share information about the views of the adult, the nature of the abuse and the surrounding circumstances
  • agree which professional is more appropriate to pursue specific areas of enquiry based on their expertise
  • agree timescales
  • agree protective measures

A strategy meeting can be a formal meeting where the various participants and agencies involved meet face to face or "virtual" i.e. conducted using video conferencing technology or over the telephone.

The Safeguarding Chair (SC) will decide whether a "face to face" or "virtual" meeting is required.  It may be appropriate to hold a virtual strategy meeting as this may be more effective in getting all agencies together at short notice. It is essential that all parties are clear what has been agreed and get a written copy of the outcome of the strategy meeting whether virtual or not. 

The main focus of a strategy meeting should be to share what is already known and determine who needs to be involved/lead different aspects of the enquiry e.g.

    • if the suspected abuse relates to a medical condition such as a pressure sore, which might indicate neglect, advice /assistance would be needed from the NHS.
    • if a criminal offence may have been committed, the police would need to be involved.

The detail and decisions of face-to-face meetings are recorded on form SG5. The details and decisions of virtual strategy meetings are recorded in the adult safeguarding document (Care First users).

Drugs and Alcohol staff use form SG5 to record all strategy meetings.

A summary of the "virtual" strategy meeting must be distributed to all contributors so they are clear as to the decision made and their contribution. Distribution can be requested by an activity message in CareFirst to APU (Adult Protection Unit).

Usually, when someone raises concerns about possible abuse, the adult at risk should be as fully involved as they want to be in the enquiry and ongoing process.  Where they are unable to participate due to mental capacity issues, a close relative or friend should be identified to represent their views or a formal paid advocate should be commissioned.  You should enable the adult or their representative to express what they want to happen and decide on how closely they want to be involved for example attending any meetings. 

If adults with capacity to participate have substantial difficulty in being involved and have no one else to support them, you should commission a formal advocate for them. 

The worker who is initially looking into the safeguarding concerns will usually start a conversation with the adult at risk, unless it is unsafe to do so.  This is to establish the facts and find out the views, wishes and preferred outcomes of the adult at risk.  If their initial outcomes are unrealistic or not achievable, the worker should manage their expectations to something that is realistic and achievable.  Without downplaying the adult at risk's strength of feeling or distress, the worker should explore with the adult at risk, their preferences.  This conversation will to some extent inform how the safeguarding enquiry progresses and any subsequent actions.

The conversations should enable the adult to understand what their options might be and how their wishes might best be realised. 

Where a person causing abuse is a family member, informal carer or another service user, the adult may need help to identify the options, what they really want to happen and what is possible.  There may be a wide range of options that could address the abuse.  For example, action in respect of a formal care provider could include:

  • Disciplinary action against staff
  • Criminal investigations
  • Work by contract managers and/or the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to improve care standards
  • Additional training
  • Extra supervision
  • Acknowledgement that the service should have provided a better service and an apology to the adult

The views of the adult or their representative should be ascertained as far as possible ahead of all meetings so that all professionals at the meeting are aware of these and they are kept at the forefront of everything that is discussed, irrespective of whether the adult or their representative is present.

The adult should be provided with information such as the general safeguarding leaflet for the public 'You have the right to be safe from abuse'.

There should be a clear plan on how the adult at risk will be kept in formed throughout any safeguarding intervention which is flexible according to the wishes of the adult as this may change over time. 

 

 

For a face to face meetings the SC will need to ensure a minute taker and venue are booked. This can be done by emailing adult.safeguarding@srft.nhs.uk. A minute taking protocol is available.

The SC will decide who needs to attend. This could include a number of agencies including GP, CCG, police as appropriate and bearing in mind the expressed wishes of the adult, where these are known

If the allegation of abuse is within a service carrying out regulated activities (ie regulated by the CQC) i.e. a residential care home, a domiciliary service, adult placement etc. contact should also be made with Care Quality Commission office (see key contacts) to check if they need to be involved in the Strategy Meeting.

Where the strategy meeting is likely to require further investigation/enquiry led by adult social care, a lead officer should be identified. They must have been trained under the Safeguarding Board's Training Strategy to conduct an investigation/full safeguarding enquiry.

Where a face to face strategy meeting is arranged this is recorded on an SG5 form.

The SC will need to arrange for feedback about actions taken to the individual raising the concern and the adult at risk usually via the lead officer.

More detail about managing a strategy meeting is provided on a downloadable document

Whilst encouraging/supporting the adult at risk to be part of meetings about them we have also to be careful that we do not share confidential information about third parties.

Therefore it is usual practice that meetings will have separate parts with different people included/invited in some parts but not others.

Usually the first part of the meeting will include all the professionals but not the adult or their representative. This is to ensure a free exchange of views and allow free professional discussion regarding the involvement of third parties or other confidential information. Where a care provider service is involved there may be identities of care staff that cannot be shared outside the part one of the meeting.

There may also be a case for a part one meeting if the information about the concern/ enquiry is very unclear. The chairperson may ask the organisations involved to meet beforehand, in order to clarify matters and to achieve a reasonable consensus on what has happened based on the balance of probabilities test

In part two of the meeting, the chairperson can then clearly explain to the adult at risk and their supporter what the organisations believe has happened (even if there are disagreements).

Part two of the meeting can then focus on providing to the adult/their representative

  • an overview of the findings of the safeguarding enquiry based on balance of probabilities
  • an overview of actions taken to ensure that it does not continue to happen
  • explanation of how the adults views and wishes have been considered throughout the enquiry process
  • discussion of any on-going risk for the individual
  • hearing the adults views in response to the findings
  • hearing any on-going concerns and considering how these may be addressed

Generally, the more involved the adult at risk is, the more they are likely to feel part of the process and more in control. It can also help them better understand what the options are.

The chairperson of the meeting should ensure everyone is put at their ease and feel welcome and the person carrying out the enquiry should have also fully briefed the adult/their representative on what to expect, who will be there, what the ground rules are etc. and how best to participate in the meeting in advance

Adults at risk should also be advised they are welcome to bring a friend or family member to meetings to support them in an informal capacity. A supporter would not normally include someone acting in an official capacity such as a solicitor as this could distort the purpose and conduct of the meeting which is not a legal one. In addition other agencies attending might be inappropriately circumspect should the adult have legal representation at the meeting.

Meetings are strictly confidential to the agencies invited. Lots of confidential information may be about third parties. As it is not possible to predict the content of information, it is standard practice for safeguarding meetings to be organised into two or on occasion three parts. This would involve a first part for professionals only with the adult then usually attending parts two or three.

Part two or three should focus on the following areas

  •  an overview of the findings of the safeguarding enquiry
  •  an overview of actions taken to ensure that it does not continue to happen
  •  an explanation of how the adults views and wishes have been considered throughout the investigation
  •  discussion of any on-going risk for the individual
  •  hearing the adult’s views in response to the findings
  •  hearing any on-going concerns they may have and considering how these may be addressed

The adult at risk, their representative or supporter attending part two of the meeting cannot be expected to keep information confidential in the same way as agencies. Therefore representatives should not be required to sign the confidentiality slip. The content of the meeting should in any case avoid discussion of confidential third party information.

Minutes of meetings should normally be shared with all present/invited (where apologies have been received). This means the adult or their representative who attends part two should receive minutes for part two of the meeting but not part one which may contain confidential third party information.

Occasionally, minutes have to be shared with other parties not at the meeting. For example a coroner or other courts are entitled to request and be given copies where these are relevant to the courts functions. The limits of confidentiality may need explaining to families.

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