Safeguarding boards have been criticised for their lack of commitment from partners to make effective decisions. However, carefully considering the appointment of an independent chair, in line with the 2014 Care Act’s person-centred approach, could be the key to strengthening safeguarding adults boards, according to an expert.

The statement – written in a Community Care blog post – comes from Robert Templeton, a social work adviser who set out to examine the role of the independent chair in developing and strengthening safeguarding boards.

Mr Templeton begins by pointing out the extent to which awareness of adult safeguarding has developed since the publication of the ‘No Secrets’ guidance in 2000, helping to save lives and protect individuals from abuse and cruelty.

However, in the 15 years since its launch, safeguarding practice has come under scrutiny in the sense that it has failed to fully consider the needs of the individuals who professionals are working to protect.

What’s more, those subjected to safeguarding processes have reported that they have little control over or have not been involved in decisions and outcomes.

The Care Act 2014, however, moves away from a process-driven approach and places the needs of individuals at the forefront.

By recruiting an independent chair to deliver new ideas from a fresh perspective, who is a good listener, able to manage meetings and understands the pressures surrounding safeguarding, strategic decisions will be driven.

Mr Templeton writes: “Safeguarding boards need to think carefully when recruiting a new chair. Playing it safe and taking a business as usual approach will result in an isolated, reactive and ineffective board. What is easy to measure will become more important than the outcome for the individual.”

He concludes that by appointing a chair who will be able to produce a common set of values that are shared among those who use and work in safeguarding services, as well as creating a good safeguarding system, will result in successful outcomes for individuals and communities.

Community Care – Safeguarding under the Care Act

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