Clear leadership from senior officers and councillors has helped bring considerable progress in adult safeguarding at Wokingham Borough Council, according to an independent review into adult services.
The review highlighted a clear vision has been developed and changes have been made at a tremendous pace within a limited time period. Leadership from the lead councillor, director of adult services, and senior team, together with their strategic planning, has allowed the council to drive forward improvements for vulnerable adults across the borough.
Delivery of a safe service was acknowledged as being central to the work of the council’s adult social care team (ASC) with oversight and governance arrangements for safeguarding now managed by a newly appointed lead, supported by launch of the new Adult Safeguarding Hub (ASH).
The ASH provides one centralised ‘front door’ where safeguarding referrals come through, regardless of who is raising the concern. They are then reviewed by a new specialist team of practitioners to determine whether or not safeguarding is the appropriate framework for response, ensuring that responses are both timely and proportionate.
Following the initial review of referrals, new processes, pathways and documentation are all in place to support a smoother journey through a safeguarding response for the customer. These focus on making the safeguarding journey as personal as possible for the individual, whilst ensuring appropriate levels of expertise are available to support the intervention, dependent on the complexity of the issues involved.
The ASH is just one of many positives changes highlighted within the review which also focused on the engagement with carers across the borough which it considered to be very thorough with recognition that there is a clear strategy for how this will be progressed.
The leadership style of the senior management team which was observed to be visible and approachable by the review and staff reported they felt encouraged about the positive changes made and a confidence that they are listened to and heard.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff within ASC. This report is a reflection on their hard work and their dedication to improving the lives of some of the vulnerable in our community. They deserve great credit,” said Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services.
“We continue to review how best to support our residents with a learning disability strategy now approved, a new transitions team set up and a number of strategies being worked on. There is always ways to improve and we continue to strive forward”.