On 15 July 2020, the Prime Minister committed to an Independent Inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Our experienced team of health and social care solicitors can support and advise care providers with all aspects of safeguarding investigations.
Safeguarding is a term used to denote procedures implemented to protect the well-being, health and human rights of potentially vulnerable persons, such as children and vulnerable adults. Legislation is in place to protect the children from maltreatment, prevent the impairment of children’s health and development, ensure children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and enable children and young people to have the best outcomes.
Vulnerable adults that may be in need of safeguarding help are the elderly and frail or individuals with mental health issues, physical disabilities or learning disabilities, who either live at home and receive care support or live in a care home. It is the responsibility of care providers and health professionals to ensure that the health and well-being of these individuals is protected under safeguarding legislation.
A safeguarding investigation may take place if there is reason to believe that the health and well-being of a child or vulnerable adult is not being protected, this can include:
- Allegations of physical, psychological, sexual, emotional or financial abuse.
- Allegations of neglect.
- Poor care environment that is harmful to their health and development.
At Anthony Collins Solicitors, we understand that safeguarding investigations can cause a number of difficulties for care providers, including stress for both the provider and employees involved, financial loss if the local authority imposes a restriction on admissions and can often cause negative publicity which could potentially damage the reputation of the care provider.
Our safeguarding service
Our specialist team of health and social care solicitors use their extensive sector knowledge to work in partnership with care providers to provide strategic support and advice on all aspects of safeguarding, including:
- Ensure they are in compliance with safeguarding legislation.
- Help to reduce the risk of safeguarding allegations, staff training and DBS checks.
- Advise care providers on all aspects of the safeguarding investigation process.
- Advice on the employment law implications of the investigation or its findings.
- Support care provider to remove admission restrictions imposed by local authority in a timely manner.
- Support care provider and employees with safeguarding meetings and police interviews.
- Representation in the courts.
It was announced by the Government on 16 July 2020 that the implementation of Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) has been delayed until April 2022. No date has been set, with April 2022 being described as the “aim for full implementation”.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Coronavirus Act) sets out the temporary emergency measures that enable public bodies such as local authorities, NHS and the police to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Covid-19 establishes a solid foundation on which a derogation from Articles 5 and 8 is essential, says Hayden J in the case of BP v Surrey County Council and another  EWCOP 17.
In December 2019, the Care Quality Commission brought its first prosecution against a local authority
The recent £1.5 million fine imposed on BUPA Care Homes, following the death of a resident from Legionaries disease, demonstrates the increased risk of substantial fines and emphasises the need for organisations within the sector to ensure compliance with their health and safety obligations.
This fledgling piece of legislation has a long way to go. It will face a great deal of scrutiny, amendments and then further scrutiny on its journey.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has now published final advice to help care homes understand and comply with their responsibilities under consumer law, in these circumstances.
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