The Whistleblowing Helpline guidance, Raising Concerns at Work: Whistleblowing Guidance for Workers and Employers in Health and Social Care, is the latest in a series of reports emphasising the importance of having effective and clearly understood safeguarding procedures in place in your organisation.
However, even with effective policies and regular training, your approach to safeguarding will not be foolproof unless your managers and supervisors lead by example and take a proactive approach to preventing abuse. Read on to find out how to reduce the number safeguarding concerns within your service.
Set the Safeguarding Standard in Your Service
Following the Winterbourne View and Mid Staffs NHS Trust scandals, public awareness of failing care services has never been higher and trust has been seriously eroded. One of the main reasons that abuse occurred within both these services was that managers, supervisors and even the Care Quality Commission (CQC) failed to act in response to genuine concerns and, in turn, staff failed to report concerns due to a lack of confidence in how they would be handled by those in authority. This failure to address problems at an early stage meant that problems that could have been tackled earlier grew into serious safeguarding issues and major incidents of abuse.
Follow these 4 Steps to Make Sure You Set the Standard for Safeguarding
- Be available: one of the most common reasons for a delay in reporting a concern is that care staff feel that managers are too busy too listen. Your staff should know that no matter how busy you appear to be, you are always available to discuss concerns about care.
- Be approachable: it can often be difficult to approach a manager with a concern and this can be even harder if you do not have the right management style. Adopt an approachable style by taking the time to talk to all of your staff regularly and ensuring you are visible around your service.
- Ask questions: don’t wait for your staff to bring concerns to you, ask them if they have any concerns. Find out if they are worried about any areas of practice where standards may have slipped or there are residents who seem quiet or withdrawn. Seek out potential problems so that you can act promptly and prevent safeguarding issues before they arise.
- Act quickly: respond to any concerns promptly to show that you take them seriously and value the information that has been shared with you. Failure to act will mean that staff are less likely to share concerns with you in future. If staff don’t bring their concerns to you, they are likely go unresolved and lead to avoidable neglect or abuse.
Are your safeguarding policies and procedures as good as they could be? Every month Care Quality Matters provides best practice advice for Registered Managers on topics ranging from health and safety to activities for service users. Click here to find out about our 30-day free trial.