Models of safeguarding: a study comparing specialist and non-specialist safeguarding teams for adults
Professionals express divergent views about whether adults at risk are best served by safeguarding work being incorporated into social workers’ case work or being undertaken by specialist workers within local area or centralised teams. This study aimed to: i) identify a typology of different models of organising adult safeguarding in local authorities (phase 1) and ii) compare the advantages and disadvantages of delivering adult safeguarding services in different models (phases 2/3).
2012 – 2015
Martin Stevens, Caroline Norrie, Katherine Graham, Jo Moriarty, Shereen Hussein, and Jill Manthorpe (SCWRU)
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research
We carried out a literature review and conducted exploratory interviews with 24 adult safeguarding managers. We identified a typology of different models of adult safeguarding. We used mixed-methods to investigate case-study sites operating four different models of organising adult safeguarding which we termed: A) Dispersed-Generic, B) Dispersed-Specialist, C) Partly-Centralised-Specialist and D) Fully-Centralised-Specialist. In each model we analysed staff interviews (n=38), a staff practitioner survey (n=206 responses), feedback interviews with care home managers, solicitors and Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (n=28), Abuse of Vulnerable Adults Returns, Adult Social Care User Survey Returns and estimated service costs.
Triangulation of data presents a varied picture as to how significant the degree of specialism is as a factor influencing adult safeguarding practices and outcomes. Staff views of the effectiveness of safeguarding or whether a particular model was achieving better outcomes for adults at risk did not vary greatly between models. Interviews with care home managers did indicate that differences might exist (but this subject warrants further research, given the small sample size). The clearest indication of a possible difference was in the rate of substantiation in safeguarding referrals, which was highest in the Dispersed-Specialist sites.
Outputs and Impact
We have produced five journal articles from this study. Presentations were made at Community Care Live, Social Policy Association, the Action on Elder Abuse Annual Conference, an NIHR SSCR seminar and a Making Research Count event.
Findings from Phase 1 (4pp; September 2014).
Norrie, C., Stevens, M., Graham, K., Moriarty, J., Hussein, S. & Manthorpe, J. (2016) 'The Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Models of Organising Adult Safeguarding', British Journal of Social Work. 10.1093/bjsw/bcw032
Graham, K., Stevens, M., Norrie, C., Manthorpe, J., Moriarty, J. & Hussein, S. (2016) 'Models of safeguarding in England: Identifying important models and variables influencing the operation of adult safeguarding', Journal of Social Work. 10.1177/1468017316640071
(See 'Models of adult safeguarding: what works best?' on The Social Care Elf, 24 March 2015, which discusses this paper)
Graham, K., Norrie, C., Stevens, M., Moriarty, J., Manthorpe, J. & Hussein, S. (2016) 'Models of adult safeguarding in England: A review of the literature', Journal of Social Work, 16(1): 22-46. (See 'Empirical Research to Underpin Developments in Adult Safeguarding Still Limited According to Review' on The Learning Disabilities Elf, 13 February 2015, which discusses this paper)
Norrie, C., Stevens, M., Graham, K., Manthorpe, J., Moriarty, J. & Hussein, S. (2014) 'Investigating models of adult safeguarding in England – a mixed-methods approach', The Journal of Adult Protection, 16(6): 377-388.
Stevens, M., Norrie, C., Manthorpe, J., Hussein, S., Moriarty, J. & Graham, K. (2016) 'Models of Adult Safeguarding in England: Findings from a Study of Costs and Referral Outcomes', British Journal of Social Work. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcw025
Stevens, M. (2016) 'Local approaches to safeguarding adults at risk: Models and perspectives', Portsmouth University, 29 February.
Stevens, M. (2016) 'Local approaches to safeguarding adults at risk: Overview of research', Portsmouth University, 29 February.
Manthorpe, J., Stevens, M., Norrie, C., Graham, K., Hussein, S. & Moriarty, J. (2015) 'Local approaches to safeguarding adults at risk', Annual Conference of the British Society of Gerontology, Newcastle, 3 July.
Graham, K. (2015) 'Models of Safeguarding', Making Research Count, University of Keele, 17 June.
Stevens, M., Norrie, C., Graham, K., Hussein, S., Moriarty, J. & Manthorpe, J. (2015) 'Local approaches to safeguarding adults at risk', Public Policy Exchange symposium: Raising Standards in Care Homes: Safeguarding Adults from Neglect and Abuse, London, 28 May.
Stevens, M. (2014) 'Models of safeguarding', NIHR School for Social Care Research Insights from Research on … Adult Safeguarding, London, 3 March.
Stevens, M. (2014) 'Professional discretion in the construction of adult safeguarding concerns', International Conference on Evidence-based Policy in Long-term Care, London School of Economics, 1 September.
Norrie, C. & Graham, K. (2014) 'A question of specialism? Adult safeguarding and models of social work practice in England', International Conference on Evidence-based Policy in Long-term Care, London School of Economics, 3 September.
Graham, K. (2014) 'A question of specialism? Adult safeguarding and models of social work practice in England', Making Research Count, York, 6 November.
The study will be relevant for senior managers and practitioners in local authorities who are responsible for developing, operating or commissioning local safeguarding systems. Service user, carers and third sector organisations may find the research of value in understanding the different models and their impact.