Keeping our residents safe
Are you living in fear? Is someone treating you badly? Don't be afraid to speak out now! Call the Safeguarding Adults Helpline on 0300 300 8122 Making sure you are safe
Here you will find how to get help and advice if you or someone you know is vulnerable and being mistreated or abused. It is important to remember that if you are being abused it is not your fault. The Council takes abuse of vulnerable people very seriously - we will listen to your concerns and give you a prompt response.
Please use the links on the left hand side of the page for further information regarding Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults from Abuse.
These pages are about vulnerable people who are over 18. If you are concerned about a child's welfare, please visit the child protection pages of the website child protection
For further information, enquiries and advice call 0300 300 8122
Fax us on 0300 300 8239
After hours emergencies only call 0300 300 8123
Abuse is mistreatment by any other person or persons that violates a person's human and civil rights. The abuse can vary from treating someone with disrespect in a way which significantly affects the person's quality of life, to causing actual physical suffering.
Abuse can happen anywhere - a residential or nursing home, hospital, the workplace, a day centre or educational establishment, in supported housing or in the street.
Who might be at risk?
- People with a learning, sensory or physical disability
- Older people who depend on or need help from others
- People with mental health problems
- People with dementia
Types of Abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Psychological or emotional abuse
- Financial or material abuse
- Discriminatory abuse
- Institutional abuse
You can view a description of these types of abuse in our leaflet Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults (PDF 258KB)
Any of these forms of abuse can be either deliberate or be the result of ignorance, or lack of training, knowledge or understanding. Often if a person is being abused in one way they are also being abused in other ways.
Who might be causing the abuse?
The person who is responsible for the abuse is very often well known to the person abused and could be:
- A paid carer or volunteer
- A health worker, social care or other worker
- A relative, friend or neighbour
- Another resident or service user
- An occasional visitor or someone who is providing a service
What do you do if you are being abused or you suspect someone you know may be being abused?
You should contact the Adult Services Safeguarding Adults Helpline as soon as possible on 0300 300 8122
Your concerns will be taken seriously and will receive prompt attention.
What if the abuse is also a crime?
If the abuse is also a crime such as assault, racial harassment, rape or theft you should involve the police to prevent someone else from being abused. If the police are involved we will work with them and with you to support you.
If you are worried about contacting the police you can always contact Social Services to talk things over first on 0300 300 8122
If immediate action is needed the Emergency Services should be contacted by dialling 999.
What will happen if abuse is reported?
- A member of staff will listen to your concerns and may ask you some necessary questions to ensure that they understand the persons circumstances fully.
- The member of staff will advise you about what is likely to happen next.
- If the person is in critical danger, we will arrange to visit the person immediately and offer support to minimise the risks.
- If the person is at substantial risk of harm, we will arrange to visit the person within 48 hours.
- For other reports of abuse we will normally visit within 5 working days.
Working with you
The person dealing with the report will work with the person who is being abused to help them make any decisions. They will provide help and support in taking action to try to end the abuse and enable them to ensure it does not happen again.
You may want someone to contact us on your behalf and to nominate someone to speak and act for you.
We will not normally do anything or share information with other people without the permission of the person who is being abused. The only exception to this is in situations where others may be at risk of abuse or the person is not able to make decisions for themselves because of mental disability.
Getting help from social services
If you don't think you need immediate help from the police or are worried about calling them, you can call social services.
You can talk to us about your own situation or about someone else you are worried about. You do not have to give your name. We will listen to you and treat everything you say in the strictest confidence.
Call the social services line on 0300 300 8122 Monday to Friday, 8.45 am - 5.20 pm
Outside office hours, call the emergency duty social worker on 0300 300 8123
It is not your fault!
It is important to remember that if you are being abused, it is not your fault. Please don't worry about telling others that you think you are being abused - it is important that you get help. If you want, you can ask someone else to contact us on your behalf.
Your concerns will be taken very seriously. The person who takes your call will listen to you - or the vulnerable person you are calling about - and talk to you about what you want to happen.
To make a referral, complete the SV1 Referral form below and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 0300 300 8239. To contact us please call 0300 300 8122
How to get help
In an emergency
If you are worried that you or someone you know is in immediate danger, you should call the police on 999. Forms and guidance
Safeguarding Alert form (PDF 79KB)
For guidance on completing the above form, please contact us on the above telephone number or email address.
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults team is a small team of senior social workers and support workers. They are experienced in working with vulnerable adults.
How to report abuse
If you are being abused or suspect that someone you know may be the victim of abuse, please contact us for advice and guidance. We will listen to your concerns and might ask questions so we understand the circumstances. We will not normally do anything or share information with other people without the permission of the person who is being abused. The exception to this is when others may be at risk of abuse or the person is not able to make decisions for themselves.
Stop abuse now and phone us on 0300 300 8122.
For further information please view the document Central Bedfordshire Council Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Team - Key Responsibilities
Safeguarding adults services in Central Bedfordshire are coordinated by the Local Safeguarding Board for Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire. The role of the Board is to promote the safety of adults by developing robust multi-agency systems for the prevention and investigation of the abuse of adults.The Board
The Board will:
Membership of the Board
Review and monitor the operation of the Safeguarding Adults’ policy and procedures for responding to concerns of abuse or neglect
Develop and agree an information sharing agreement.
Share information about providers or individuals via concern notifications, complaints, death list collation etc that are retained and collated for future reference.
Review and monitor systems and processes that are in place and ensure collection and documentation are of agreed standards.
Monitor outcomes of strategy meetings/case conferences to ensure course of action completed/investigation included.
Establish training strategies for staff, volunteers, service users and carers and monitor their implementation and relevance.
Oversee the collection of data on the incidence of adult abuse and the outcomes of investigation.
• Initiate action and/or plans as a result of data collection analysis presented to the Board.
• Develop a strategic/forward plan.
Audit and develop services for people who are at risk of/have experienced abuse or neglect.
Audit and develop responses to and services for perpetrators of abuse/neglect.
Develop strategies for reducing risk of abuse and neglect across a range of settings, including care settings and the community.
Review the strategic plan and produce an annual report.
The following organisations and agencies are members of the Local Safeguarding Board for Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire:
Bedford Borough Council
Central Bedfordshire Council
Police - Public Protection Unit
Bedfordshire Probation Service
Bedfordshire Community Health Services
NHS GP Representative
Bedford Hospital Acute Trust
Luton & Dunstable Hospital Acute Trust
Bedfordshire Advocacy Network
Bedfordshire & Luton Housing Partnership
SEPT mental health NHS Trust
Beds Care Group
Community & Voluntary Services
Voluntary & Community Action
Bedfordshire & Luton Fire Rescue Service
East of England Ambulance NHS Trust
Service User Representative
What is the Mental Capacity Act?
What does the Mental Capacity Act do?
The Mental Capacity Act is a law that came into force in 2007. The Act was introduced to help people plan for a future loss of capacity, and to protect vulnerable people over the age of 16, who currently are unable to make all (or some) decisions due to a lack of capacity.
A lack of capacity may be due to a
- Learning disability
- Mental health problem
- Brain injury
- Alcohol or drug misuse
- Side effects of medical treatment or any other illness or disability
Principles of the Mental Capacity Act
The Mental Capacity Act provides the legal framework for acting and making decisions on behalf of vulnerable individuals who lack the mental capacity to make a particular decision. Decisions can range from what a person wants to wear, to where a person wants to live, or whether to have serious or life changing medical treatment. The Act supports vulnerable people by:
- Protecting those who cannot make their own decision
- Making it clear who can make decisions on a persons behalf
- Allowing people to make some decisions in advance for themselves
- Providing a new service to support those who have no one to help them make decisions.
- Helping to resolve disputes
Everyone working with and/or caring for an adult who may lack capacity to make specific decisions must make reference to the Mental Capacity Act and the Code of Practice when making a decision, or when acting on behalf of that person. The same rules apply whether the decisions are life-changing events or everyday matters.
What relevance does the Mental Capacity Act have for us?
- A presumption of capacity – every adult has the right to make his or her own decisions and must be assumed to have capacity to do so unless it is proved otherwise.
- Individuals being supported to make their own decisions – a person must be given all practicable help before anyone treats them as not being able to make their own decisions.
- Unwise decisions – just because an individual makes what might be seen as an unwise decision, they should not be treated as lacking capacity to make a decision.
- Best interests – an act done or decision made under the Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done in their best interests.
- Least restrictive option – anything done for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity should be the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms.
Independent Mental Capacity Advocates
The Mental Capacity Act places a legal requirement on all Health and Social Care practitioners, in all directorates, who work directly with service users. The Act introduces a criminal offence against any person who either ill treats and/or is negligent towards a person lacking capacity, with potential fines and imprisonment.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service is a newly-created resource to support the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The aim of the IMCA service is to provide independent safeguards for people who lack capacity to make certain important decisions and at the time when such decisions need to be made, and have no-one else other than paid staff to support and represent them or be consulted.
The provider of the IMCA service for Bedfordshire is POhWER who are based in Stevenage.
The criteria for referring to the IMCA are:
- The person lacks capacity, according to a decision-specific test for capacity. There must be a written record of this process.
- The person without capacity has no friends or family, or where the NHS or Local Authority body deems there is no-one appropriate or practicable to consult with on the decision e.g. family out of the area or limited knowledge of the person requiring support.
- When the person lacking capacity requires action around ‘serious medical treatment’, which could include providing, withholding or withdrawing treatment such as ECT for non-detained patients, major surgery, chemotherapy, life-sustaining treatment considerations, etc.
- When the person lacking capacity needs to change residence, where the Local Authority propose to make changes to a person’s residence for more than 8 weeks, or where an NHS body propose to make changes to a person’s residence for over 28 days.
- Adult protection issues and care review representation can also be eligible.
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) came into effect on 1st April 2009. They were introduced into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 via the Mental Health Act 2007.
The safeguards are designed to protect the interests of very vulnerable individuals who lack capacity to decide about their care or treatment and as a result, may be deprived of their liberty in order to ensure their safety. The DoLS require hospitals and care homes to apply to the local authority or Primary Care Trust for authorisation of deprivation of liberty.
Links to further information on the Mental Capacity Act and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards:
Office of the Public Guardian supports and promotes decision making for those who lack capacity or would like to plan for their future, within the framework of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
POhWER advocacy organisation and providers of IMCA service for Bedfordshire
You can also... Do it online
- To contact the Safeguarding Team 0300 300 8122
- For out of hours emergency safeguarding issues only 0300 300 8123
Below is a list of organisations and agencies that can provide help, support or advice on safeguarding vulnerable adults.
Serious Case Reviews carried out by Central Bedfordshire Council can be found here.
The purpose of a Serious Case Review is to:
- Establish whether there are lessons to be learnt from the case about the way in which local professionals and organisations work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of adults at risk
- Identify clearly what those lessons are, how they will be acted on, and what is expected to change as a result; and
- As a consequence, improve inter-agency working and better safeguard and promote the welfare of adults at risk
Serious Case Reviews are not inquiries into how a vulnerable adult died or who is culpable. That is a matter for Coroners and criminal courts respectively, to determine as appropriate. However, serious case reviews will take into consideration the findings of these external processes.
It is acknowledged that all agencies will have their own internal/statutory review procedures to investigate serious incidents. The Serious Case Review procedure is not intended to duplicate or replace these. Agencies may also have their own mechanisms for reflective practice.
We want to make sure that children and young people feel safe and cared for in Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire. We hope that the following information is useful to those who want to know more about the work of the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).
LSCBs have been established by the government to ensure that organisations work together effectively to safeguard children and promote their welfare.
In Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire this includes
In fact, any organisation providing services for children.
Laura Eades Chair of Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board
Phil Picton Chair of Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board
- Report Abuse of Vulnerable Adults using our form here
Making Safeguarding Referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
If you dismiss or remove a person from regulated activity (or may have done so had they not left)’ because they have harmed or posed a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult, then you have a LEGAL duty to refer the person to the DBS.
The DBS’ role is to make barring decisions about people who are referred to it (usually following an employer’s disciplinary process), with the possible consequence of the person being barred from working or volunteering with children and/or vulnerable adults. The DBS uses a fair, thorough and consistent process that ensures that the decision it reaches is both proportionate and appropriate to the risk the person poses to children or vulnerable adults.
On 1 December 2012 the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) merged to form a new organisation, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The legal duty to make referrals remains, however referrals should now be addressed to the DBS.
The DBS’ website is www.homeoffice.gov.uk/DBS and provides a range of materials to help you to consider or make a referral. This includes a Referral Form, Referral Guidance, FAQs and a series of Fact Sheets.
You may also contact the DBS Helpline on 01325 953795 for information or advice about making a referral.
For further information please download the following documents:
To contact the Safeguarding Team call 0300 300 8122
For out of hours emergency safeguarding issues only call 0300 300 8123