Working together to improve safeguarding and creating safer organisational cultures

In 2021 a small number of organisations decided to come together to look at how, as housing providers, we collaborate with customers on safeguarding related matters from a strategic and operational viewpoint.

Over several months we reviewed each other’s policies, procedures, organisational structures, and processes. Each learning about areas where we could improve but, overall, we found we were all similar in our approach to safeguarding related matters.

We continue to meet as a peer support group looking at safeguarding trends, sharing our learning and supporting each other. Some of our key areas of focus this year have included the effects of the Cost-of-Living Crisis, issues around Damp & Mould and have been working with the National Police lead for Missing People to develop a specific Missing People Framework for Supported Accommodation Providers.

During National Safeguarding Adults Week, we’re following the Ann Craft Trusts theme – looking at how we ensure the welfare and wellbeing of our colleagues so that they can adequately support and safeguard our customers. With our focus on promoting safeguarding being everyone’s business and colleagues knowing their role in recognising signs of abuse, harm and neglect, and to take action in reporting and recording all concerns and incidents.

All colleagues receive adequate safeguarding training for their role within housing. We have robust policies and training around professional boundaries and code of conduct. Along with training, colleagues receive regular meetings with their line manager and, in more complex services, debriefing sessions are offered. We look at all lessons learnt around safeguarding  regionally and nationally for all providers within managers meetings, working groups and national panels.

Our organisations give colleagues access to free support both internally and with external companies. Internal support ranges from wellbeing champions to peer support groups, access to information and signposting including mental health, menopause, parenting and bereavement, to name a few. The external employee assistance programmes provide a confidential service with support including counselling and financial advice, consumer rights and legal concerns plus more.

As organisations we work hard to raise awareness not just around safeguarding issues but also sending the message that regardless of our role, we all have an important part to play in safeguarding. Colleagues who work within our organisations know who they should report concerns to and that they will be acted upon appropriately. We also have in place Whistleblowing Policies for colleagues to make confidential reports of wrongdoing in the workplace.

We have systems for colleagues to record these concerns and any safeguarding incidents. These provide us with the data for us to explore trends, track incidents and drill down into the types of safeguarding reports.

The Safeguarding peer support group has grown in size and now has seven housing providers who meet on a quarterly basis.  If you’d like to know more, please take a look at our plan on a page and blog that was published last year.