Choice Support’s SAAR committee meets every quarter at Westminster Bridge Road. It’s made up of a number of managers from across the regions, along with two independent members from outside Choice Support. I chair the committee, and as a Trustee of Choice Support, and a parent of someone with profound learning disabilities, I could not be more aware of the importance of this work. Deborah Kitson joins me on the committee as CEO of the Ann Craft Trust, one of the UK’s leading providers of safeguarding training & research, and experts in the field of learning disabilities.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has essential standards that we must all meet and supporting people safely and protecting them from harm is one of its key inspection areas. Our committee exists to lead on the development of safe practices and to look into any safeguarding issues that might arise both for the people we support and our staff, and to work promptly and effectively to ensure that any abuse or poor practice is stopped.
At our SAAR meetings there is always a packed agenda - sometimes three hours just doesn’t seem enough! There is a detailed SAAR work plan, which is reviewed on an ongoing basis. Claire Bates our Data Analyst prepares the quarterly SAAR report which is a record of all Choice Support’s incidents of possible abuse reported to her by managers across the country, and we discuss every case in detail. Occasionally (but thankfully not very often) we do hear distressing details of abuse and poor practice, sometimes with police or local authority involvement.
But it is not all grim news. Sometimes a member of the public, parent, other professional or person we support comes forward to report a good result, we are always delighted to hear about safeguarding success stories and good outcomes. We aim to learn from each of these, and change and improve good practice in all of our services as a result.
The Government’s policy on safeguarding is clear – that keeping vulnerable people safe is everybody’s business, and that organisations like Choice Support are expected to lead the way to prioritise the prevention, detection and reporting of neglect and abuse.
There is much to learn and much to do in the area of safeguarding. National initiatives such as the Driving Up Quality Code co-authored by our Managing Director Sarah Maguire,help create a national culture of openness, transparency and equality so important in the prevention of abuse. We were the first organisation to sign up to the Driving Up Quality Code and many other organisations have since joined us. That's a mark of our committment to getting this right.
Lynda Frampton, Trustee, Chair of SAAR Committee