What does safeguarding mean and whose responsibility is it? - FitzRoy

What does safeguarding mean and whose responsibility is it?

Author: Kirsty Millward
Published: November 24, 2023

Kirsty Millward, FitzRoy’s Head of Quality, talks about the importance of safeguarding.

Safeguarding Adults Week is a good opportunity to focus on the principles of safeguarding – especially because safeguarding is something we all need to take responsibility for and we need to put it into practice every day. It’s your job, it’s my job, it’s everyone’s job to report even the lowest level concerns without hesitation. We should all keep an eye out for any signs, no matter how minor, of potential abuse, harm, or neglect.

Safeguarding – key points to remember

  • Safeguarding is all of our responsibility.
  • Whistleblowing is really important and every staff member should always feel able to report risk, wrong-doing, or poor practice.
  • Small things not being reported can lead to big things happening –  always speak up about any concerns, no matter how small or trivial you feel they are.

Challenging closed culture

We also all need to challenge cultural practices that are not aligned to our values – we see the person, we are brave, we are creative – and that do not put the people we support at the heart of everything we do. Closed cultures often stem from a lack of oversight and scrutiny of practice and, once established, a closed culture can enable abuse to take place unchallenged. The cases of Winterbourne View and Whorlton Hall illustrate the impact of closed cultures and a failure to take safeguarding seriously – both provide strong reminders that abuse can and does happen and we all have a duty to safeguard adults from the risk of harm and neglect.

Key principles of safeguarding

Our commitment to safeguarding those we support isn’t just a box ticking exercise – safeguarding the people we support should be something we’re thinking about every time we engage in support with people, families, and external professionals. We all need to be mindful of the six key principles of safeguarding:

  • empowerment
  • proportionality
  • accountability
  • prevention
  • partnership
  • protection

“Nothing about me, without me”

Don’t forget too that it’s vital to make safeguarding personal, just as we aim to make all the care we deliver person-centred. “Nothing about me, without me,” means we must involve those we support in the safeguarding process and take their wishes into account. If we successfully make safeguarding personal, it should feel to the person being supported like a series of conversations, supported by a process, rather than the other way around.

As well as being familiar with the principles of safeguarding and knowing what to do if we have a concern, it’s also important for staff to know how to whistleblow.  Nobody should ever be afraid to raise a concern – we are committed to creating a culture of openness where people feel safe in speaking up, and know that this is both acceptable and encouraged.

Safeguarding really is everyone’s business and we all have a duty to report concerns, no matter how small we feel they are.