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National Safeguarding Adults Week 2020

National Safeguarding Adults Week 2020 runs from 16 November 2020 to 22 November 2020, and aims to increase everyone’s awareness of the varied issues we can all face associated with safeguarding, and our responsibility to prevent the abuse of others.

We must all work together to understand what kinds of abuse against adults can occur, in what environments, and how we can rapidly report any concerns we have.

This year’s safeguarding focus is on Adult Grooming, which can include cuckooing, catfishing, and radicalisation, as well as financial and sexual abuse.


It is important to know the 10 categories of abuse which are listed in the 2014 Care Act (more on this on Wednesday’s post), and to consider how these might manifest:

  1. Physical;
  2. Sexual;
  3. Psychological or Emotional;
  4. Financial or Material (this might include forms of Scamming and ‘mate crime’);
  5. Discriminatory;
  6. Neglect and acts of omission;
  7. Organisational or institutional;
  8. Domestic violence;
  9. Modern slavery; and
  10. Self-neglect (this can include things like hoarding behaviour).

If you are interested to know at what point certain behaviour and signs of harm become a safeguarding issue, download our Adult Safeguarding Threshold Matrix.

View the video on types of harm, for inclusion.

To Report Safeguarding Concerns contact:

  • Family Connect: Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm Telephone: 01952 385385 (option 3)  
  • Emergency Duty Service: Monday - Friday after 5pm and weekend 24 hours
    • Telephone: 01952 676500
  • West Mercia Police - in an emergency always telephone: 999
  • For non-emergency West Mercia Police enquiries:
    • Telephone: 101.

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about working together to support people to make decisions about the risks they face in their own lives, and protecting those who lack the capacity to make these decisions. We all share responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of vulnerable adults.

The definition of well-being is wide and can encompass looking out for someone's personal dignity, physical health, mental health and emotional well-being, amongst other things. In addition to this, under this section a local authority must have regard to the views, wishes, feelings and beliefs of an individual. It must also have regard to avoiding the development of the need for care and support of that particular individual.  With regard to the principle of well-being, all aspects of a person's well-being should be given equal importance.

There’s a strong link between safeguarding and mental and physical wellbeing. In short, if someone’s wellbeing is suffering, they may consider certain actions that put them at risk. If a person is experiencing a form of abuse that is not noticed and tackled (and we all have a responsibility to do so, both as employees of the council, and members of the public) they may come to serious harm.

"Wellbeing” is a broad concept, and it can relate to the following areas in particular:

  • Personal dignity (including treatment of the individual with respect);
  • Physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing;
  • Protection from abuse and neglect;
  • Control by the individual over day-to-day life (including over care and support provided and the way it is provided);
  • Participation in work, education, training or recreation;
  • Social and economic wellbeing;
  • Domestic, family and personal relationships;
  • Suitability of living accommodation;
  • The individual’s contribution to society.

Essential steps for developing Making Safeguarding Personal resonate with themes that are core to developing Wellbeing. These include making Safeguarding ‘Everyone’s Business’ and a holistic focus on health, safety and wellbeing.

The key focus for this year’s Adult Safeguarding Week is Adult Grooming.

Grooming is a form of abuse that involves manipulating someone until they’re isolated, dependent, and more vulnerable to exploitation. Whilst grooming is not listed as one of the ten types of harm listed in the Care Act, many of the listed types of harm can happen as a result of grooming. An abuser picks their target, build up trust, and the actual abuse, which is usually sexual or financial, doesn’t come until much later.

It often starts with friendship. The groomer will look for ways to gain their target’s trust, often with gifts or promises. Eventually they’ll start to ask for something in return, and this eventually leads to abuse.

Grooming can happen in person, or it can happen online. Online grooming might be referred to as catfishing”, where the groomer pretends to be someone they’re not in order to gain trust.

Grooming can also result in radicalisation, in which case the groomer is simply working to win someone over to their cause. You can find out more through the Prevent Strategy.

Signs of grooming to look out for:

  • The person becomes withdrawn, or they may seem troubled by something but unwilling to talk about it. Alternatively, their emotions might become more volatile.
  • You notice them using or wearing something new, that you didn’t buy for them.
  • Groomers often aim to isolate their targets from their family or friends. If they seem reluctant to see you, or they refuse a visit, it might be because someone’s manipulating them.
  • You notice that sums of money have disappeared from the person’s bank account, or the person claims they cannot pay for food or bills.
  • The person might be spending more time on the phone, or online, than usual. But they won’t say what sites they’re visiting, or who they’re talking to.
  • They start talking about a new friend”, boyfriend” or girlfriend”, and it’s not clear who they are or how they met them.

Victims of grooming often don’t feel like they need help, and it goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

If you suspect that a vulnerable person is being groomed, please report this via:

  • Family Connect on 01952 385385 (Monday to Friday from 9am - 5pm)
  • Emergency Duty Team on 01952 676500 (Monday to Sunday after 5pm) or
  • West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000 or 101.

On a national basis, for advice and action, you can also contact:

  • Respond is an organisation that provides a range of services to people with learning disabilities who have suffered from sexual abuse. You can call their helpline on 0808 808 0700.
  • Operation REPEAT is a campaign to address the problem of doorstop crimes and scam prevention. Not many people realise that these issues count as grooming. But you can report a crime, or share your concerns, by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
  • Small Steps can help you if you suspect that someone close to you is in danger of being radicalised. You can email them at
  • You can also give the Ann Craft Trust team a call on 0115 951 5400. Talk to them about your concerns, and they can let you know the steps to take to get help.

There is a wide range of legislation surrounding adult safeguarding. The Care Act 2014 sets out clear guidance for local authorities in relation to protecting adults (over 18 years old) with a social care and support need. The Care Act 2014 sets out safeguarding duties to an adult who:

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs);
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; or
  • as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.

This criteria is explored in further detail within the Adult Safeguarding Threshold Matrix.

The safeguarding process is underpinned by 6 principles of adult safeguarding, these are as follows:

  • Principle 1: Empowerment.
  • Principle 2: Prevention.
  • Principle 3: Proportionality.
  • Principle 4: Protection.
  • Principle 5: Partnership.
  • Principle 6: Accountability.

These principles underpin the working under a safeguarding remit to ensure that safeguarding processes are personal and appropriate to the individual involved.

In addition the Mental Capacity Act 2005 plays a key role in providing safeguarding support, this legislation applies to everyone involved in the care, treatment and support of people aged 16 and over living in England and Wales who are unable to make all or some decisions for themselves. The first and most important principle is the presumption of capacity. This means it is assumed that everyone has capacity until proved otherwise. A lack of capacity should not automatically be assumed simply based on a person's age, appearance, condition or behaviour.

A person can be supported further should they be deemed as lacking capacity by a Lasting power of attorney or Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards legislation. This must be undertaken in line with the Human Rights Act 1998 and encompass what is in that individuals best interests. Intervention should be the least restrictive approach. 

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 introduced the new Vetting and Barring Scheme and the role of the Independent Safeguarding Authority. The Act places a statutory duty on all those working with vulnerable groups to register and undergo an advanced vetting process. You may also know about the Disclosure and Barring Checks which many of us in the council have undertaken as part of our role. The 2003 Sexual Offences act has particular sections relating to abuse and offences from those in a position of trust, and against those individuals who may have a mental disorder which limits or affects their capacity to consent.

View a really useful guide from the LGA, which focuses on how to make safeguarding personal. We should all understand and engage with legislation to make sure we are focused on achieving the best and most person-led outcomes for our adults with safeguarding needs.

Safeguarding must happen at a grassroots level- it is everyone’s responsibility to make the places they live, work, and play safer for everyone. Abuse can happen anywhere, in people’s own homes, in care and nursing homes, in hospitals or out in the community. The people who carry out abuse and are responsible for the harm or risk can be from all walks of life, family members, neighbours, health professionals, care workers or even total strangers.

If you suspect that a vulnerable person is being abused or neglected, please report this via:

  • Family Connect on 01952 385385 (Monday to Friday from 9am - 5pm)
  • Emergency Duty Team on 01952 676500 (Monday to Sunday after 5pm) or
  • West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000 or 101.

Safe Places Telford

The Safe Place Scheme is a nationwide initiative established by Mencap. The scheme is designed to support the needs of Adults with Learning Disabilities, but is appropriate for anyone who feels vulnerable. Locations advertise they are a Safe Place by displaying a sticker. This tells people who may become vulnerable whilst out and about, that they can receive support and assurance at that location. They will be safe. View a list of places involved locally on the Shropshire disability website and view the map on Google maps.

  • It is important to never assume safeguarding is someone else’s problem.
  • We must all learn about the different types of harm and abuse, as we have done by taking a close look at adult grooming on Tuesday.
  • We must know how to spot the signs of abuse, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic where usual meetings and social events may be suspended, or happening virtually or at a distance.
  • It is important to record any concerns that you might have, and then report them to Telford & Wrekin Council (or the relevant local authority safeguarding board).
  • It is so important to work together to protect adult’s rights to live free from abuse, and from neglect.
  • If you would like, there is an excellent safeguarding checklist on the Ann Craft Trust website, which you can take to see where your understanding is strong and where it can be improved.

Organisational Abuse includes neglect and poor care practice within a specific care setting. This could occur in a hospital or a care home, but also the care an individual receives in their own home from a domiciliary provider. Repeated instances of neglect or poor practice may be a sign of organisational abuse, when standards of care are so poor that residents or service users are put at risk.

Organisational abuse occurs when the routines, systems and procedures of a care provider result in poor or inadequate standards of care, and when the organisation fails to address problems that are brought to its attention.  While it is not always easy to tell the difference between poor practice and ongoing organisational abuse, you should look out for things like:

  • Failure to provide care, inadequate provision of care or acts of omission;
  • Inappropriate use of power or control;
  • Inappropriate confinement, restraint, or restriction;
  • Lack of choice or provision – in nutrition/hydration, in decoration, in lighting and heating, and in other environmental aspects;
  • Lack of respect for independence, dignity or privacy;
  • Lack of personal clothing or possessions;
  • No flexibility of schedule;
  • Financial abuse (it could also be helpful to read up on Lasting Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney, and Next of Kin );
  • Physical or verbal abuse;
  • Lack of leadership, supervision and governance; and
  • Failure to respond to concerns about abuse or neglect appropriately.

If you think Organisational Abuse is happening near you, you can contact The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulatory body for providers, who will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take. If you have any concerns, you must raise them. It is better to raise and be wrong, than not act. 

Concerns in relation to Organisational Abuse should also be raised with the Telford & Wrekin Council Adult Safeguarding Team, who will decide whether to conduct a Safeguarding Enquiry.  On occasions this may lead to providers being taken into the Organisational Safeguarding Process to obtain a commitment to improvements and support them to make changes.  Alternatively regulatory action may be taken if improvements are not consistently demonstrated over a period of time and the safety of service users cannot be guaranteed.

Over recent years the Telford & Wrekin Council Adult Safeguarding Team have strengthened their relationship with the Telford & Wrekin Council Procurement (Vulnerable People) Team, to further enhance additional Quality Monitoring support, to achieve greater alignment in addressing Provider concerns. 

The Procurement (Vulnerable Team) Team become involved where concerns reach the threshold of becoming contractual matters, whereby a Providers may not be consistently delivering as per the agreement they have in place with Telford & Wrekin Council.  Information is shared frequently between both teams and also through Information Sharing Meetings with partner agencies involved in working with providers, to raise awareness of current and rising issues.  Conversations take place regularly to ensure that everyone is kept informed and up to date on developments. 

This combined approach allows Telford & Wrekin Council to move quickly in supporting Providers to make the improvements that are required, or understand where there are deeper problems that need to be addressed in detail as soon as possible.  It also demonstrates a greater level of strength as a Local Authority, in that there is engagement across teams who require the same outcome of improved standards, and united in any Organisational Failure process or contractual action deemed necessary.

Engaging in Sport and Leisure activities is important for both physical and mental wellbeing, and if we are to make steps towards becoming a healthier borough we all must try our best to ensure that organisations work to prevent abuse from occurring, and to respond promptly if it has.

Adults with safeguarding needs must be given space to take appropriate and reasonable risks, which may occur during sport. Visit the Ann Craft Trust website to view the guide.

There is also a Club Safeguarding Consideration List which can help you consider some helpful questions about how safeguarding is managed in sport or activity clubs.

It is also important to consider wider social situations and activities where safeguarding issues may arise, and not just sport. For example, faith groups have a responsibility to their community.

All staff and volunteers at an activity centre have a role and responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of adults. You must;

  • Recognise – Be able to identify abuse and neglect and raise a concern.
  • Respond – Reassure the individual, tell them what you will need to do, ask them what they want to happen.
  • Refer – Contact your Safeguarding Lead.
  • Record – Who, what, where, when – make sure you write down what you see, hear or are told separating fact from fiction. Keep your record safe and maintain confidentiality.

It is important to consider who those at risk are, in your community. They may be a person who:

  • is elderly and frail due to ill health, physical disability or cognitive impairment. Download information on financial assistance for the elderly;
  • has a learning disability;
  • has a physical disability and/or sensory impairment;
  • has mental health needs;
  • has a long term illness/condition;
  • missuses substances or alcohol;
  • is a carer such as family members and friends; and
  • is unable to demonstrate the capacity to make a decision and is in need of care and support.

Adults can be more at risk of abuse when they live:

  • alone;
  • have care and support needs;
  • depend on others for example to manage their money; and
  • find it difficult to communicate.

You can spend some time reading over case studies of adult safeguarding experiences. This can help to inform your understanding of how these abuses can occur in your community, and the impacts they can have on people. If you see the table below, you can find a list of who to contact in what instance, if you think a safeguarding issue is arising.

There is also a leaflet from the government about Making Safeguarding Personal.

Organisations offering advice and support, if you think someone in your community or workplace may have safeguarding concerns:

This table shows organisations offering advice and support.
Age UK Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Age UK work with and for older people to improve the quality of later life by:
  • Providing older people with information and advice to enable them to make choices;
  • Providing services to help older people remain independent; and
  • Campaigning both with and for older people, both locally and nationally.

POhWER Telford and Wrekin

POhWER offer the following services in Telford and Wrekin:

  • Independent Mental Capacity Act Advocacy (IMCA), including Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), is a statutory advocacy service to support people who lack capacity and need to make important decisions but have no representatives as defined under the Mental Capacity Act 2005;
  • Direct Payment Support and Advice Service where Direct Payments Advisors support individuals to consider receiving their personal budget as a Direct Payment so that they can fund their own care. Advisors will support will all aspects of setting up a Direct Payment account and employing Personal (care) Assistants (PA) where needed; and
  • POhWER has a website dedicated to supporting employers to find a PA, and PA's to find work. 

The Glade Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

The Glade SARC Telford provides an initial response for victims of sexual assault living in West Mercia. Their services are available to men, women and children. 

A SARC is a 'one stop' centre where a victim can feel safe and supported and where their immediate medical needs are met. 

Telford Carers Centre

The role of Carers Centre is to support and enable carers to improve their quality of life and to be more confident and able in their caring role. 

Carers Centre has support workers who understand the problems and who are there to listen and offer specialist, individual and group support to carers that care for Adults with Physical Disability or Illness, Older People, Adults with a Learning Disability and Adults with a Mental Health problem.

West Mercia Women's Aid

West Mercia Women's Aid runs a 24-hour helpline, 3 refuges and a well-developed and expanding outreach service which includes the provision of community support to families, group programmes and links to education and employment opportunities, as well as Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) services.

Friends Against Scams

Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to take a stand against scams.

Safe Places Telford

The Safe Place Scheme is a nationwide initiative established by Mencap. The scheme is designed to support the needs of Adults with Learning Disabilities, but is appropriate for anyone who feels vulnerable. Locations advertise they are a Safe Place by displaying a sticker. This tells people who may become vulnerable whilst out and about, that they can receive support and assurance at that location. They will be safe. Visit the Shropshire disability website to view list of places involved locally and visit Google Maps to see where they are mapped.

Live Well Telford

The central community directory for any needs you may have, from COVID-19 support, to family support, to advice on how to find an assistant.


Support for those who live with complex disabilities, and those in their circle. Sense is also looking at the experience of loneliness for people with disabilities, which is expecially important to consider in our socially-distant times.

Communities Inc.

The ‘Stand By Me’ project looks at ways in which we across the community can stand up against hate, harassment, and discrimination.