• Establish the full facts, including what has happened and who is involved – gather any relevant records.

• Record whether the incident involves alleged abuse, inappropriate behaviour or dishonesty, including whether there has been an error relating to the care of a resident; such as administering incorrect medication.

This simple list can’t take into account the circumstances of all incidents, but it does emphasise that immediately establishing a record of the facts and carrying out necessary welfare procedures are important first steps when an incident occurs. Have a clear rationale when making key decisions in the event you are later challenged.

When an alleged safeguarding incident occurs involving a staff member, disciplinary action may be warranted. In these circumstances, it’s important to balance the legal duty to safeguard service users and be fair towards the employee.

Each care provider needs to follow their own procedures, but these should include confidentially providing the employee with written details of the allegations against them before an initial disciplinary. Staff should also be made aware that they can be accompanied at their disciplinary meeting. During the meeting, the potential action that could be taken against them should be clarified, together with how to challenge and appeal against the allegations before final decisions are taken.

"Risk management is key to minimising the chances of incidents occurring and a

number of procedures should be established, irrespective of an organisation’s size. "

With safeguarding regularly hitting the headlines and authorities, including the police, clamping down on offending institutions, it’s important for care providers to protect all parties by having clear pre and post-incident procedures that staff understand how to apply in an operational setting. Robust risk management will help to minimise incidents occurring whilst structured, balanced investigations will help to protect the welfare of affected parties and ensure adequate management of the incident, including any lessons to be learned for the future.


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