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Reducing the risk? The operation of a barring and vetting scheme in care services in England and Wales 1 Social Care Workforce Research Unit.

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Presentation on theme: "Reducing the risk? The operation of a barring and vetting scheme in care services in England and Wales 1 Social Care Workforce Research Unit."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reducing the risk? The operation of a barring and vetting scheme in care services in England and Wales 1 Social Care Workforce Research Unit

2 Introduction Background The POVA List The research How to Synthesise Unsuitability POVA List implications for concept of vulnerability and risk

3 Social Care in the UK Social care services hard to define Largely provided by independent sector (for and not for profit) companies and organisations Largely provided by unqualified workers Public funds directed at people with high needs and with little money Self-funders get advice and information State regulates services and workers

4 Safeguarding Personalisation efforts to increase choice and control adds a new dimension to risk concerns Risk as a backdrop (McLoughlin, 2007) Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) List introduced in England in Care Standards Act (2000), implemented 2004 Independent Safeguarding Authority introduced by the Safeguarding Vulnerable groups Act (2006) Policy unique to UK (Though international concern about adult protection/safeguarding implications

5 The Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) List It creates a list of people, held by the Secretary of State, who are considered unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults in England and Wales (DH Guidance, 2006) Mandatory to refer workers dismissed after having harmed or placed at risk of harm Mandatory to check if new employees have been barred (illegal to employ) Illegal to seek work with Vulnerable Adults when barred

6 POVA Research Purpose: To inform developments in the operation of the POVA List 1.What are the commonalities & differences in a sample of referrals to the POVA list? 2.What factors are associated with decisions to put staff onto the POVA list? 3.How are decisions made about whether to put staff on the list? 6

7 Methods Research question 1&2 –Re-analysis of all POVA referrals July 04 – October 06 (n=5294) –Analysis of a sample of 300 referrals Research questions 2&3 –Developing 3 vignettes of cases –Discussion groups with older people (14) and staff (8) –Interviews with POVA team (18) –Participants asked to make judgements, give reasons and explore suitability / unsuitability 7

8 Synthesising unsuitable people Initial reaction Contextual influences Referral Case investigation Reaction and judgement Evidence gathering Person Harm Misconduct Synthesis UnsuitableNot unsuitable

9 Initial reactions Screening The way the law stands is... if you cant establish the misconduct causing harm you cannot look at suitability. Initial reaction shapes investigation I think you form a view pretty quickly as to yes or no and you know, but it is emotional and then you think altogether and that is the reasons why it would be yes or no.

10 Gathering evidence Paper exercise Variable quality Detecting bias Sources –Disciplinary hearings –Care plans –Managers and colleagues views –Service users and relatives views –Police investigations

11 Emotional reaction and moral judgement I just get the feel from the nature of the abuse and the sort of other incidents that he is somebody who doesnt care. My view of it is that there are one or two traits here that I personally dont like the sound of, and therefore I would not employ him and I wouldnt advise anyone else to employ him but thats a personal judgement and we are all down to personal judgements in these things

12 Mitigating factors Mitigation for the referred person –Factors about the referred person that alter the interpretation of the misconduct, to change the overall judgement of unsuitability. Mitigation of the misconduct –factors that can explain the immediate conditions surrounding the incident(s), which support a more positive interpretation of the role of the referred person

13 Mitigation for the person The person Admission of guilt Remorse Reaction Age of worker Intentions Previous good record Ongoing stress/ mental health

14 Mitigation of misconduct Misconduct Victimisation Relationships with staff Staff shortages Racism discrimination Immediate stress Working conditions Reaction to behaviour of service user

15 Factors supporting unsuitable verdict Types of misconduct It is very important, the worse ones like physical and sexual, I mean I just think you cant afford to... if you have any sort of evidence there... I just dont think you can afford to let that go. Types of harm I am thinking of one particular case where users didnt want any more assistance and this lady couldnt manage by herself but her trust had been shattered by what had happened. So there are issues beyond the financial. Patterns of misconduct If we have got an individual with an odd spike here and there then we need to start looking to see if there is a pattern emerging here.

16 Dimensions of unsuitability Harm caused Person (alleged perpetrator) Misconduct

17 Building a picture mitigating circumstances that one of them nipped him, Harm although he if you are an old lady being put to bed and someone throws water at you and shouts at you then I think that is emotional harm caused there and I think physical UnsuitableNot unsuitable Misconduct …the fact that he [Rob] has shouted and thrown water at a resident when helping them to bed

18 A judgement of unsuitability you cant treat people that way even with mitigating circumstances, I wouldnt, even if the nip had hurt Rob, I dont think he should be reacting like that in those circumstances.

19 POVA end point Confirmed on the list –A national and legal response to abuse/harm –Full glare of publicity –Appeals –Creates an unsuitable person Case closed –Returns to a less broad level of publicity –Staff record (dismissed, references?)

20 Conclusion Unsuitability created as a relatively fixed trait, solidifying judgements of risk and vulnerability Legal, financial and moral consequences Unsuitable person one of a set of: –blameable scapegoats; the dishonest, inhumane, disorderly criminal 'others to society's truthful, humane, orderly 'self (Hollway and Jefferson, 1997: 260) Approaches to maintain good decision making Responding to personalisation and choice Individualistic focus – a response to a genuine dilemma? 20

21 Contact details Martin Stevens –e-mail; tel 020 7848 Jill Manthorpe –e-mail; tel 020 7848 Shereen Hussein –e-mail; tel 020 7848 Jess Harris –e-mail; tel 020 7848 Joan Rapaport –e-mail; tel 020 7848 Stephen Martineau –e-mail; tel 0207848 21

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