Safeguarding hubs lead to drop in referrals in Northumberland

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The number of reports about adults at risk of abuse or neglect in Northumberland saw a major drop last year.

The 2017-18 report of the North Tyneside and Northumberland Safeguarding Adults Board (NSAB) reveals that the number of adult concern notifications was 45 per cent lower last year than in 2016-17 (2,669 compared to 4,819).

Plus, there were 468 safeguarding referrals during 2017-18, a decrease of 39 per cent on the previous year, when there were 768 referrals.

Presenting the report to last Tuesday’s (November 6) meeting of Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing committee, Paula Mead, the NSAB chairman, said that the numbers going down could be good or bad, if it meant that concerns weren’t being highlighted.

However, in this case, it’s good news which is evidenced when looking at the numbers of referrals or concern notifications which result in investigations.

Ms Mead added that last year, 83 per cent of safeguarding referrals by the police went forward for an investigation compared to 27 per cent the previous year. “We have the MASHs to thank for that,” she said.

Both North Tyneside and Northumberland have developed Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASHs) during 2017-18, which allow ‘for improved information sharing in a timely and effective manner, and more robust

decision-making around risk’.

Northumberland’s operates from a central location, Foundry House in Bedlington, featuring the police, adult social care and children’s services teams, with more agencies set to join.

The partnership working and increased communication and education explains why partners such as the police are more aware of what should be passed on the safeguarding team and what should be dealt with elsewhere, meaning limited resources are much better targeted.

There was one Safeguarding Adults Review, into the events leading up to a death, initiated in 2017-18 by the board, which is set to be published shortly.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service