Following the introduction of filtering certain convictions and cautions from DBS certificates on 29th May 2013, Employers will not be able to take certain old and minor cautions and convictions into account when making decisions about any individual. HR policies, job specifications and application forms will therefore all need to reflect the filtering changes.
It is important that employers ask the right questions, and that employees give the right (legally accurate) answer. The DBS suggests that Employers include the following paragraph below in their standard application forms:
‘The amendments to the Exceptions Order 1975 (2013) provide that certain spent convictions and cautions are ‘protected’ and are not subject to disclosure to employers, and cannot be taken into account. Guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found at the Disclosure and Barring Service website.’
From 10 September 2012, the definition of regulated activity related to ‘vulnerable adults’ will change. The Department of Health has published information on the scope of regulated activity in relation to adults: link here: Regulated Activity (adults)
Regulated activities are the activities that the Independent Safeguarding Authority can bar people from doing. It is a criminal offence for a barred person to seek to work, or work in, activities from which they are barred. It is also a criminal offence for employers or voluntary organisations to knowingly employ a barred person in regulated activity.
Regulated Activity (adults) sets out the scope of the barring regime for adults from 10 September 2012. For people who work in these roles the Criminal Records Bureau can provide an Enhanced Criminal Records Certificate with information about whether the individual is barred from working in regulated activity.
Some of the changes were made by secondary legislation – links available here:
• The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/2112)
• The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Miscellaneous Provisions) Order 2012 (SI 2012/2113)
The debate about the care of vulnerable adults, in particular the elderly, is intensifying. A year-long inquiry by The Equality and Human Rights Commission into standards of care for the elderly at home has uncovered “appalling” evidence of pensioners being deprived of food and drink, handled roughly, humiliated and even robbed. Many incidents amounted to “abuses of human rights”, which left elderly people feeling profoundly depressed, in tears and even expressing “a desire to die”, the report said. Many care workers often spend just 15 minutes with an elderly person, ticking off pre-arranged “tasks” in an approach that displayed “chronic disregard” for their dignity.
In one case, an elderly blind man said two council carers were talking to each other over his head, leaving him feeling like “a lump of meat”. In another, a 76-year-old woman with advanced cancer was told her care worker could not prepare her a microwave meal because of “health and safety” rules. Baroness Greengross, the commissioner responsible for the report, told The Daily Telegraph that 250,000 vulnerable pensioners in England were receiving “poor or very poor” standards of care at home…but the true figure may be far higher because many are “too frightened to complain”, she said. Continue reading 'Equality and Human Rights Commission join debate about elderly care'»
The release of the new draft inspection framework by Ofsted has implications for schools’ safeguarding procedures.
Safeguarding was a separate judgement in the last framework and ‘the effectiveness of safeguarding procedures’ came under leadership and management. It was also given the status of being a ‘limiting judgement’, so if a school was inadequate against this, then overall effectiveness was likely to be inadequate too.
however in the new framework, limiting judgements no longer exist and safeguarding no longer has its own section. Instead under the leadership and management judgement in the new Ofsted framework, school leaders are required to demonstrate that they ensure that all pupils are safe. Inspectors will be looking for evidence that school leaders and managers at all levels manage safeguarding arrangements to ensure that there is safe recruitment, and that there are effective procedures in place to identify children in need or at risk of significant harm. To qualify as ‘outstanding’ in this aspect of leadership and management, the school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils must ‘meet statutory requirements and give no cause for concern’. The same phrase is used for ‘good’ and ‘satisfactory’ schools. Schools will register as ‘inadequate’ if safeguarding arrangements do not meet statutory requirements and give serious cause for concern.
It is therefore clear that the emphasis on safeguarding has been reduced in the new evaluation schedule.
Also , under the government’s School health and safety guidance (issued in August 2011) risk assessments do not now have to be completed for every activity. In fact, Health & Safety: Department for Education Advice on Legal Duties and Powers for Local Authorities, Head Teachers, Staff and Governing Bodies emphasises that risk assessments need not be routinely carried out or repeated for similar activities. However, an assessment should be completed for any new activity that includes an element of risk.
The changes will be overseen by the newly-appointed chief inspector of schools , Sir Michael Wilshaw
who hopes to improve standards by cracking down on “ineffective” teachers. He said “very robust” performance management systems were needed. From January, he will head Ofsted and its new streamlined inspection framework, which will emphasise four key areas – pupil achievement, teaching standards, behaviour and school leadership. He has been described as traditional in his approach to improving standards at the London school of which he was head. BBC News: Academy head named Ofsted chief
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is launching a phone helpline for paedophiles tomorrow. The emergency number – aimed at talking convicted paedophiles out of striking again – will be manned around the clock by trained counsellors. It will be funded by donations to the 127-year-old charity, so that it will be a toll-free service.
Child-sex offenders released from jail or given community service will be able to phone up if they fear a relapse or need other guidance. But they must first have agreed to sign up to the scheme, which will see them given a unique PIN number to identify them. The phone counsellors will also reserve the right to call police. Continue reading 'NSPCC helpline for paedophiles'»
A ‘Deaths in custody’ corporate manslaughter crime has been created so that Police and other authorities can now be prosecuted over deaths in custody in England, Scotland and Wales.
BBC News highlights that the new legislation of The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act, which has now come into effect means police forces, the MoD, UK Border Agency and private firms managing people held in custody can be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter. Corporations can already be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter or for the equivalent offence (corporate homicide) in Scotland. The extension of these offences to public bodies involved in detention means they could be prosecuted if they failed to ensure the safety of someone in their care. Examples could include deaths during an immigration removal or when someone has been restrained using an unauthorised or badly taught body hold.
The law does not cover incidents abroad, such as where someone dies in the custody of British forces. However, British nationals can be convicted of causing a death through gross negligence, even if the fatality occurred overseas. The provisions are not retrospective, meaning the law could not apply to cases such as Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan man who died during his deportation in October 2010.
Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act of 2006, priosoners were included as ‘vulnerable adults’. However the Protection of Freedoms Bill will remove this status when it becomes law.
Continue reading '‘Death in Custody’ crime created'»
Council leaders and safety campaigners have condemned government plans to relax the criminal checks designed to protect passengers from dangerous taxi drivers. Currently, prospective taxi and private car hire drivers must pass an enhanced criminal record bureau (CRB) check, which gathers information from local police records, the Police National Computer, child protection and sex offenders registers. The checks are repeated every three years to satisfy licensing authorities that these drivers do not pose a risk.
Under the Protection of Freedoms Bill, they would only be entitled to a ’Standard’ CRB check which only includes convictions, cautions and reprimands, and would not show if they were barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. Transport for London, the capital’s licensing authority, rejected 240 drivers between 2002 and 2008 after enhanced checks uncovered incidents of rape, terrorist activities, organised crime and drug dealing. They say these incidents would have been missed by less rigorous checks. Continue reading 'Taxi Drivers no longer eligible for eCRB'»
There will be a review of vulnerable adult protection in Northern Ireland.
Edwin Poots,The Northern Ireland Health Minister is looking into creating new policy to ensure the protection of vulnerable adults in care. His announcement of a review of the system came after the number of people alleging abuse against vulnerable adults was revealed to be 1,184 referrals to health trusts in 2009-2010, the last year for which there is accurate data. Of these 1,184 referrals almost two-thirds, 750, were considered serious enough for a protection plan to be put in place.
Responsibility for child protection falls to the department of health and the five health and social care trusts who are individually responsible for providing residential care services to children and young people within their areas.
There were also 1,271 child protection referrals for the quarter ending 31 March 2011, which was almost 20% higher compared with both the previous quarter and the same quarter in 2010. Continue reading 'Review of vulnerable adult protection in NI'»
The Welsh Government is calling for urgent action to improve education services in Pembrokeshire following two highly critical reports. One identified serious failings in procedures to protect children from abuse, the other criticised the quality of education services. Education Minister Leighton Andrews told Pembrokeshire council it has two months to come up with an action plan. He has launched a crusade against “complacency in the classroom”.
The Welsh Government is sending in a team to monitor Pembrokeshire Council after the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) and school inspections body Estyn identified 25 cases of alleged child abuse in the education services. The investigation was triggered by the case of primary school head teacher David Thorley, who was jailed in 2009 for sex assaults on children in his care. (Details of that case from BBC: Sex assault head teacher jailed). The report criticised the council for its “wholly unacceptable” handling of the child abuse allegations. Continue reading 'Welsh Government focus on School safeguarding'»
A FORMER Cwmbran senior support worker has been jailed after admitting stealing £5,670 from vulnerable adults in her care. Karen Moore, 40, of Brendon Hill, Somerset, appeared in Newport Crown Court after pleading guilty to three theft charges relating to her time working at CPI Care’s supported accomodation on Roll’s Close, Cwmbran.
Moore was a senior support worker at the facility between 2005 and 2008, where she helped four adults with learning difficulties, controlling their financial affairs, taking money out of their accounts and paying outgoings.
It was after Moore had left the position and moved to Somerset that the deception came to light in June 2010 and she was arrested and interviewed by police in Minehead. Prosecutor Hywel Hughes said CPI Care found unexplained cash deposits made by Moore, with the overall loss greater than £5,670, but this is the amount that was provable.
In interview, Moore told officers she struggles with figures and made up sheets to make cash tally, while Mr Hughes said she made withdrawals to pay off her own debts.
Judge David Morris called it a “tragedy” that someone of Moore’s intelligence and background was in front of him for him for such offences. He said she had breached a position of trust repeatedly and gave her concurrent terms of 14 months for each offence. DC Sarah Garland of Gwent Police’s protection of vulnerable adults team said: “She had a position of trust helping people live independent lives. She abused this position, so a custodial sentence is fair.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has issued new guidance for doctors regarding the treatment of vulnerable patients, stating that healthcare professionals have a duty to flag up any suggestion of abuse. It also explains the procedures if they suspect that physical and mental abuse of vulnerable adults by NHS staff or carers is being covered up.
The Guidance was commissioned by the Department of Health, and highlights the legislation in place to protect people if they choose to speak out about possible neglect. Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s Medical Ethics Committee, noted that the guidance is there to support doctors and understand which adults have the capacity to protect their own interests. “The way doctors deal with these possible situations demonstrates how complex caring for vulnerable adults can be. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution,” he added.
GPs should be alert to identifying abusers, spotting systemic healthcare failures and recognising signs of neglect, ranging from physical and mental abuse to financial exploitation. Whistle-blowing may involve providing information to the media or MPs. and the individual is protected as long as it is reasonable, not made for gain and meets the following conditions:
- Whistle-blowers reasonably believe they would be victimised if they raised the matter internally or with a prescribed regulator
- They believe a cover-up is likely and there is no prescribed regulator
- They have already raised the matter internally or with a prescribed regulator.’
A poll of 290 GPs, carried out by Pulse in July 2011, found that 41% believe one or more of their patients has been subjected to abuse.
The scandal of vulnerable adults being abused at Winterbourne House highlights safeguarding gaps following the Panorama expose. The National Autistic Society (NAS) has submitted a 10,000 strong petition to Parliament asking for urgent action to address the failings in the current system of inspection of adult care services. John Pugh, MP for Stockport and Co. Chair of the Liberal Democrat Committee on Health and Social Care, presented the petition calling upon the Government to review the inspection process for vulnerable adults living in residential care. It asks for the following points to be addressed:
- All organisations must create working cultures where abuse is unacceptable and clear polices and procedures are in place to report abuse and wrongdoing.
- It is vital that individuals working in adult social care have the right attitude to work with vulnerable adults and that they are trained in safeguarding and managing challenging behaviour
- Robust and rigorous recruitment procedures are essential.
- Specific on-the-job training should be regularly assessed and refreshed.
- Staff must have relevant and specific knowledge of the disabilities they are dealing with to help support individuals appropriately.
Commenting, Carol Povey, Director of NAS Centre for Autism, said: “It is completely unacceptable that any form of abuse by support staff takes place in any care service. It is deeply distressing that these vulnerable adults have been treated so diabolically and the strength of support for urgent action is palpable. In less than two weeks the NAS received over 10,000 signatures to the petition.
BBC Panorama – Breaking the Silence tells the story of how over a hundred former pupils from two Catholic prep schools in England and Tanzania were reunited via the internet. Chatting in cyberspace, they discovered they had all suffered terrible abuse at school: mental, physical and, in some cases, sexual. As young children they were frightened into silence by their abusers.
Now, as men in their fifties and sixties, and strengthened by the group, they want the truth to come out. Twenty two men have started legal proceedings against the Rosminian Order for compensation. They want justice, but their abusers are now elderly and the church has sought to mediate a solution.
An insight into the way in which children are manipulated by sex offenders – and also the power of the internet to draw out truth.
The new Police National Database ((PND) will be launched nationally on 23 June 2011. The information held on the PND is not new information but comes from existing force systems that support force intelligence, crime, domestic abuse, child abuse and custody business areas. The PND now offers forces direct access to that information, and details of intelligence about vehicles, locations and events.
A case study demonstrating the benefits for police users working in child protection is available here.
Only Enhanced Disclosures will contain reference to any ‘relevant and proportional information’ held by local police forces, so employers will need to utilise safer recruitment and other HR policies to ensure that people working on the periphery of Regulated Activity are appropriate to do so. Continue reading 'Launch of Police National Database'»
31 May – BBC Panorama’s Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed The BBC filmed abuse of patients with learning difficulties at Winterbourne View residential hospital in Bristol. During five weeks spent filming undercover, BBC Panorama’s reporter captured footage of some of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients being repeatedly pinned down, slapped, dragged into showers while fully clothed, taunted and teased.
The case has been condemned as “shocking” by the government and Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said he was determined to strengthen safeguards for vulnerable adults. He has already ordered a thorough examination of the roles of the government regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and the local authorities. CQC chairman Dame Jo Williams admitted that the failure to follow up the reports of a whistleblower – a senior nurse at the home – had been an “unforgivable error of judgement”. Avon and Somerset police confirmed three men – aged 42, 30 and 25 – and a 24-year-old woman were arrested as part of their investigation into the hospital. The hospital’s owners, Castlebeck, have apologised and suspended 13 employees. It has launched an internal investigation into its whistle-blower procedures and is reviewing the records of all 580 patients in 56 facilities. Winterbourne View can accommodate 24 patients and is taxpayer-funded, charging the state an average of £3,500 per patient per week.
The programme was broadcast on BBC One on Tuesday 31 May at 2100 BST and is available to view in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) has presented it’s annual report which shows that 414 children were helped, 513 people arrested and 132 offender networks broken up in the UK in the past year. This is a record number of children and a record number of arrests for the centre.
Ceop was set up in 2006 to track online paedophiles and bring them to court. Over a five-year period the agency said it helped to dismantle more than 394 high-risk sex offender networks and arrest 1,644 suspected paedophiles.
According to the report, images on the internet appear to show that younger children are increasingly becoming victims of abuse. But the “great tragedy” is that much child abuse goes unreported, said its chief executive Peter Davies. He added that Ceop was trying to stay ahead of developments in technology, including in the area of social networking sites.
Jon Taylor, an internet safety expert and former police officer who went undercover posing as a 12-year-old girl, said it was relatively easy to pose online – either as a child who may be groomed or as a sexual predator – to “mingle” and find out what people were doing. But he said it was difficult because the internet is not “proactively policed”, and instead reacts to intelligence and information.
Ceop is currently affiliated to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), but is to be merged with the new National Crime Agency when it is formed in 2013.
Safeguarding Matters is organising a conference about the topic in November 2011. Speakers include Mark Williams-Thomas and international police forces. Please register with us to be kept updated on the conference programme.