Improving skills and knowledge
47. APCs have a duty to make or assist with arrangements for improving the skills and knowledge of the public bodies and office-holders that have responsibilities relating to the safeguarding of adults at risk in their area. A local strategy will therefore be required, recognising the different roles and responsibilities of staff and office holders in the public bodies. Given the essential inter agency importance of adult support and protection work consideration should also be given to including the role of other statutory, voluntary and private organisations.
48. The elements of a local training strategy should address:
- staff working in any sector who need to recognise the signs of harm, neglect or exploitation and require to know when and how to respond, what action to take, including who to report their concerns to, and how they fit into a protection plan;
- the opportunity for staff working in any sector to reach an understanding of the importance of working with people in a way that supports them and promotes their wellbeing and health in the context of the ASP Act;
- staff working in any sector who will be playing a major part in communications, assessments (including about risk, capacity and consent), recording events, decision-making on actions to be taken, and have a major role in the implementation of protection plans, including legal processes;
- staff managing services who will be supervising others in contact with service users, who will be monitoring performance at a local or central level and who may be involved in decision-making in individual cases and chairing adult protection conferences and reviews;
- staff working in the statutory and legal sectors who will be taking a lead role in legal proceedings in relation to adult protection work; and
- staff in other areas of work including advocates in local organisations, members of APCs, regulatory staff within the Care Inspectorate, council clerical, administrative staff or other staff who will act as initial contacts for referrals or minute takers in adult protection case conferences, guidance staff in secondary schools for those pupils aged 16 to 18 years and lecturing and tutoring staff within local education institutions.
49. The need to support and protect adults at risk extends to adults within managed and registered care services. Where harm is happening or suspected in these situations, the Care Inspectorate in the required format has a responsibility with its regulatory functions through inspection, complaints and enforcement. As with other aspects of practice, APCs will want to ensure a proper understanding of roles and responsibilities between the Care Inspectorate and local agencies through further development of existing Memoranda of Understanding.
50. The duties and powers of the Act relate to adults in all settings who are being harmed or may be being harmed. Within NHS services this includes inpatient, day or other services. These situations will involve health service managers and monitoring bodies. As with registered care services, APCs will want to consider how adult protection work relates to NHS services and how to ensure the Act's implementation in relation to these services.
51. The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWC) has particular statutory responsibilities in relation to the care and treatment of people with mental disorders, which includes learning disabilities, both in monitoring practice and carrying out inspections and inquiries. APCs will also want to ensure that arrangements are agreed and understood about the relationship between local agencies and the MWC in adult support and protection work. Similar understanding will need to be developed with the Office of the Public Guardian.
52. It is equally important for people who use services to understand their rights and the supports available to them. APCs may also want to develop a broader communication strategy, encompassing general awareness raising and appropriate training for service users, carers and members of the public. They may also wish to consider asking service users to act as co-workers in delivering such programmes.
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