What is our role in safeguarding?
Our role is to monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet the fundamental standards of quality and safety. For safeguarding, we will do this by:
• Checking that care providers have effective systems and processes to help keep children and adults safe from abuse and neglect.
• Using Intelligent Monitoring of information we receive about safeguarding (intelligence, information and indicators) to assess risks to adults and children using services and to make sure the right people act at the right time to help keep them safe.
• Acting promptly on safeguarding issues we discover during inspections, raising them with the provider and, if necessary, referring safeguarding alerts to the local authority – who have the local legal responsibility for safeguarding – and the police, where appropriate, to make sure action is taken to keep children and adults safe.
• Speaking with people using services, their carers and families as a key part of our inspections so we can understand what their experience of care is like and to identify any safeguarding issues. We also speak with staff and managers in care services to understand what they do to keep people safe.
• Holding providers to account by taking regulatory action to ensure that they rectify any shortfalls in their arrangements to safeguard children and adults, and that that they maintain improvements. Regulatory action includes carrying out comprehensive and follow-up inspections, requiring providers to produce action plans, taking enforcement action to remedy breaches of fundamental standards, and taking action against unregistered providers.
• Publishing our findings about safeguarding in our inspection reports, and awarding services an overall rating within our key question ‘Is the service safe?’ which reflects our findings about the safety and quality of the care provided.
• Supporting the local authority’s lead role in conducting inquiries or investigations regarding safeguarding children and adults. We do this by co-operating with them and sharing information where appropriate from our regulatory and monitoring activity. We assist the police in a similar way.
• Explaining our role in safeguarding to the public, providers and other partners so that there is clarity about what we are responsible for and how our role fits with those of partner organisations.
Although we do not have a formal role on Safeguarding Adults Boards or Local Safeguarding Children Boards, we work closely with them, sharing information and intelligence where appropriate to help them identify risks to children and adults.
What is safeguarding?
This section sets out definitions of safeguarding children and adults which we use in our safeguarding work. Over time, we will further supplement these by working on definitionsissues of safety and poor quality too, in addition to safeguarding. This will recognise that there is a spectrum of issues and concerns, and that the health and care system needs to be sure that the right people take the right action in response to these issues to protect people, minimise risk and seek improvements.
In April 2015, new fundamental standards of safety and quality were introduced which all providers of regulated health and social care activities must meet. The standards set the benchmark below which care must not fall. One of the standards relates to safeguarding.
The fundamental standard on safeguarding2 states that children and adults using services we regulate must be protected from abuse and improper treatment. Providers should establish and operate systems and processes effectively to ensure this protection and to investigate allegations of abuse as soon as they become aware of them.
In addition, the standard states that care or treatment must not:
(i) discriminate on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 20103 (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, sexual orientation)
(ii) include acts intended to control or restrain an adult or child that are not necessary to prevent, or not a proportionate response to, a risk of harm to them or another person if the adult or child was not subject to control or restraint
(iii) be degrading to the adult or child
(iv) significantly disregard the needs of the adult or child for care or treatment.
The standard goes on to state that no adult or child must be deprived of their liberty for the purposes of receiving care or treatment without lawful authority. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, we are responsible for monitoring how hospitals and care homes operate the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. Where necessary to protect people using services, we will take enforcement action to drive improvement, using powers relating to the fundamental standards about safeguarding, person-centred care and the need for consent to care and treatment.
In our inspections we check that providers are fulfilling all their responsibilities and obligations under this standard (and the other fundamental standards) and we take action to obtain improvements where they are not.
In response to new threats to the safety of some children and adults, a number of organisations named in law have been given a statutory duty4 to have regard to the need to prevent people from being exploited, radicalised and drawn into terrorism5. These include a county or district council; prison governor; NHS trusts and foundation trusts; proprietors of approved, maintained and independent schools. The strategy includes providing appropriate advice and support to people at risk of radicalisation in sectors such as healthcare and education.
What is our role in safeguarding?