Institutional Safeguarding Module Helps To Spot Concerns Over Potential Abuse

An early warning system for care homes and individuals which will provide authorities with alerts to help them identify concerns which could ultimately help detect abuse and mistreatment of vulnerable adults under care, has just been launched by Northgate Public Services.

Northgate, a leading provider of social care software, produced the solution following a series of scandals at care homes and other residential settings, relating to safeguarding adults and children. Panorama exposed this problem at institutions including Winterbourne View Hospital. More recent scandals have been highlighted by the Francis Report, the Keogh Report, the Jasmine Report and the CQC scandal at Morecombe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which have all damaged public perceptions and trust around the quality of care delivered in the NHS and other residential settings.

As a result, the government has put increased emphasis on the importance of institutional adult safeguarding. With local authorities responsible for the investigations into organisations providing care where concerns are raised, which may relate to residential care or providers delivering care in people’s homes, the Northgate solution helps spot possible safeguarding risks.

Northgate’s Institutional Safeguarding Module, developed for local authorities, meets requirements to undertake investigative level work and coordinates information. It gives alerts in a number of situations, making staff aware of potential safeguarding risks without creating extra work. These include alerts which are displayed when the user searches for someone who is linked to an organisation where there is a current safeguarding episode. The module also raises concerns when there is a search for a person who is linked to an organisation where there is no safeguarding episode but its parent/subsidiary organisation does have a current safeguarding episode.

Some authorities have relied on manual information in books and spreadsheets, while, historically, case management systems from software providers have revolved around an individual. This module helps to coordinate safeguarding across institutions and individuals and provides a holistic view of potential risks.

Ian Blackhurst, Northgate’s Executive Director, Solutions, said: “Care homes and other residential settings have faced a series of high profile safeguarding scandals which have clearly damaged public perceptions and trust in the quality of care delivered. With our innovation safeguarding risk management will be improved by a structured, secure and collaborative process. Our module links useful data to alert staff to potential concerns or issues regarding a home or an individual, then provides instant access to the detailed information for adults and children’s practitioners and their organisations.”

In developing this module, Northgate has worked closely with South Gloucestershire Council. Its Director for Children, Adults and Health, Peter Murphy, said: “We are looking forward to getting this module in place in the next few months, having worked closely with Northgate on its development.

“The Northgate solution takes a holistic view of institutional safeguarding and provides a comprehensive and efficient system to help manage and lower the council’s safeguarding risk. It will help us to fulfil our safeguarding obligations and enable us to more quickly spot patterns and also ‘join the dots’ between providers and parent companies.”