All health and social care agencies that commission or provide services (whether in the public, voluntary or private sector) have a duty of care for adults at risk of abuse.
All of these agencies have a responsibility to take appropriate action to promote the quality of care provided to people, minimise risk and take speedy action within these procedures where abuse is suspected.
Wigan Council has lead responsibility for the enquiry of suspected abuse of vulnerable adults, working closely with police and other agencies as necessary and appropriate.
They also have lead responsibility for coordinating the actions to be taken within multi-agency procedures enable enquiries to be made to protect people from abuse and neglect. In this capacity they arrange, service and chair adult safeguarding strategy meetings, case conferences and reviews.
Clinical Commissioning Group
When concern is raised that a commissioned health service is not safe, Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group will review the service in relation to breach of contract.
They will hold the service to account if they are not supportive of council led safeguarding investigations.
Healthcare staff from across the borough come into contact with adults at risk of abuse or neglect in a variety of settings. They are in a position to observe patient welfare and report any suspicions or suspected abuse and have a responsibility to alert concerns to the council.
Care agencies and homes
All residential care homes, nursing homes and domiciliary care providers have a duty of care for the people they look after including having relevant policies and practices to prevent abuse occurring.
If abuse does occur staff must record information and make a referral to emergency services or Wigan Council and also inform the owner of an establishment and the Care Quality Commission.
Care Quality Commission
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) (external link) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. Their aim is to make sure better care is provided for everyone, whether that’s in hospital, in care homes, in people’s own homes, or elsewhere.
They regulate health and adult social care services, whether provided by the NHS, local authorities, private companies or voluntary organisations and protect the rights of people detained under the Mental Health Act.
The CQC make sure that essential quality standards are met where care is provided and work towards the improvement of services. They promote the rights and interests of people who use care services and have a wide range of enforcement powers to take action if services are unacceptably poor.
Consultation with the police at the earliest possible point is essential when alleged abuse or neglect may be a criminal offence. It is important for the police and the council to work together and identify what each need to do.
If a criminal act has been committed, the police investigation will take priority over all other ongoing investigations. This process may not always result in criminal proceedings.
Early involvement of the police will help ensure that forensic evidence is not lost or contaminated, and may prevent the alleged abused adult being interviewed unnecessarily on subsequent occasions.
Any police investigation will be planned alongside any health and social care issues.