The Committee considered a report of the Independent Chair of the Leicestershire and Rutland Safeguarding Adult Board (LRSAB) for 2022/23. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.
The Chairman welcomed Ms. Seona Douglas, Independent Chair of the LRSAB to the meeting for this item.
Arising from discussion and questions, the following points arose:
i. A Member queried the Safeguarding Partnership’s reserve funds of £168,895 and questioned who would decide what this would be used for. The Independent Chair explained that during the Covid-19 pandemic, there were no learning and development opportunities and the money had therefore been accrued as a result. There was an agreed methodology for sharing the funds if not required, and the decision would be made by the Board on how to use the money or whether to disseminate some or all of this back to partners. However, Members acknowledged that it was good for the Partnership to have a healthy reserve balance which would enable the Board to undertake a lot of work and engagement with residents.
ii. A Member made reference to the number of safeguarding enquiries and alerts which for Leicestershire in 2022/23 looked similar to the figures presented for 2021/22. However, in comparison to Rutland, the number of physical abuse cases had gone down from 19% to 4% whilst at the same time the number of financial and material abuse cases had risen from zero to 13%. The Member queried if there was an explanation for this jump in figures. The Independent Chair explained that Rutland, as a small unitary authority, had significantly smaller numbers when compared with the County Council, therefore changes in numbers in terms of percentages would look more extreme. The two could not be meaningfully compared.
iii. A Member drew attention to the Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR), whereby over the last few years the SAB had identified an ‘under-representation’ of people from non-white backgrounds. It was suggested it would be more appropriate to say that there was under-reporting from this group of residents which the Independent Chair accepted and confirmed would be amended for future reports.
iv. Members noted that there was greater under-reporting within Leicestershire from black minority communities. The Board would therefore be exploring whether it was targeting those communities correctly. It was noted that when the Partnership ran campaigns and awareness raising was undertaken, referrals increased.
v. A Member sought an explanation of why the number of section 42 safeguarding enquiries concluded in 2022/23 had been higher than the number of individuals involved in such enquiries during the same period. The Independent Chair explained that some cases would have been brought over from a previous year. The Director further explained that there were two key issues. Firstly, was the length of time it had taken to complete some enquiries which meant they were carried forward into the following years figures. This had been the subject of a recommendation by Dr. Tozer in the report on Assurance of Adult Social Care to be considered elsewhere on the agenda for this meeting. The recommendation had been to address the number of safeguarding enquiries that took over six months to complete. Secondly the Director explained that the Council’s approach in when it applied the threshold to assess whether a matter would be the subject of a section 42 enquiry was different to most other authorities which meant Leicestershire’s conversion rates appeared to be substantially lower. The Director confirmed that its processes would be reviewed and undertook to provide a further update on this issue to Committee Members.
vi. It was noted that attendance on the Board had been good, particularly at a senior level ensuring the Board was able to operate effectively and take decisions. The Committee welcomed this news but requested that a table of attendance still be included in future reports as had been done in previous years.
The Chairman thanked Ms. Douglas for the report.
a) That the draft annual report of the Leicestershire and Rutland Safeguarding Adult Board (LRSAB) for 2022/23 be noted.
That Chair of the Board be requested to include
details on the attendance of partners at LRSAB meetings throughout the year in
c) That the Director of Adults and Communities be requested to provide a further update outlining the process for dealing with Section 42 Safeguarding enquiries, how these are managed and the timings for conclusion, in particular those that take longer than 6 months.