Keeping residents safe from abuse – annual reports highlight progress

Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet has heard this week about the significant progress being made in keeping vulnerable people safe in the face of increasing numbers of reported safeguarding concerns

Dec 13 2023

The Annual Reports for both Adults and Children, highlight that whilst demand for social care continues to increase year on year, the response to the safeguarding of vulnerable individuals is robust.

Commenting, Councillor Rob Humby, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “Safeguarding our most vulnerable citizens is fundamental to the work of the Local Authority, and an area in which we prioritise resource. On the surface, there could be concern that the number of reported safeguarding issues are increasing, but we recognise that in part, this is due to much better awareness of abuse and how to report it among both the public and professionals. We have also noted the increasing complexity of cases, that are challenging our social care practice like never before, and the ongoing programme of innovation, training and transformation that is having a real impact on the ground.”   

He added: “We are enormously grateful to everyone involved in this sensitive and hugely important area of work which is so often hidden from public gaze.”

In adult social care, highlighted work over the past year includes:

• Further development of safeguarding expertise and practice to include new topics such as:
- supporting people at risk of choking
- self-neglect
- mate and hate crime 
- Cuckooing (where a criminal befriends a vulnerable individual who lives on their own)
- Self-harm
• Managing the property and financial affairs of some 1,000 adults who lack mental capacity and have no family members suitable to act on their behalf – work undertaken by the County Council’s dedicated Client Affairs team
• Trialling a targeted approach to working with individuals who are self-neglecting, which may include hoarding
• Further development of the senior social worker role – providing strong practice excellence and expertise to teams on the ground 
• Developing a safeguarding activity dashboard to ensure trends are spotted early, enabling preventative work to be started before risks escalate. 

In children’s social care, highlighted work over the past year includes:  

• Stabilisation in the numbers of children coming into care, despite an increase in demand, due to the effective practice of front-line staff and  the success of transformational activity
• Development of Family Help teams, new local, community-based teams, enabling and facilitating easier and quicker access to services, meeting families’ needs as early as possible
• Early intervention and action resulting in fewer children having child protection plans in place long term 
• Establishing a specialist Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children’s team to support the increasing numbers arriving in Hampshire.  

Councillor Humby concluded: “Safeguarding is everybody’s business, and we would urge the public to continue coming forward to report it – whatever form it may take. Please be assured, that you will never be wasting anyone’s time – if you have a concern, even it’s just a ‘feeling’ – tell us!”

Contact the County Council to report a concern about an adult in confidence 24/7.
Contact the County Council to report a concern about a child in confidence 24/7.

Always call 999 in the event of an emergency.

Hampshire County Council works collaboratively with partner agencies such as the Police, NHS and district and borough councils via Children’s and Adults Safeguarding Boards to ensure that systems are in place locally to protect people at risk.