“Safeguarding is everyone’s business”: launch of new Expert Citizens toolkit
Bruno Ornelas and Andy Meakin introduce an initiative developed from a collaborative effort involving academic researchers, legal experts, and both statutory and non-statutory practitioners: The Safeguarding Toolkit for Multiple Exclusion Homelessness.
Since its inception in 2020, this toolkit represents a collective commitment to address the intricate challenges faced by individuals experiencing multiple exclusion homelessness. Designed to serve as a comprehensive resource, it seeks to support practitioners by offering a structured approach to objectively understand an individual's needs and their capacity to safeguard themselves against potential harm.
Homelessness, especially in the context of multiple exclusion, presents complex barriers that hinder an individual's ability to navigate daily life and ensure personal safety. The divergence in interpreting these complexities across sector specialisms sometimes leads to conflicts within the workforce. Our toolkit endeavours to bridge these disparities by establishing a common language, encouraging collaboration, clarifying communications, and harmonising practices across sectors.
The phrase that ‘safeguarding is everyone’s business’ means that whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect the person has care and support needs, is at risk of abuse or neglect, and unable to protect themselves, practitioners must act on concerns. At its core, this toolkit underscores the principle that safeguarding is a collective responsibility. It equips practitioners with the necessary guidance to actively gather information, unveiling risks that may otherwise be overshadowed by complexity or immediate crises.
Divided into four pivotal sections —assessing needs and risks, chronicling events, identifying immediate risks, and devising protection plans — the toolkit integrates invaluable resources, links, and nuanced guidance for practitioners to consider in reaching conclusions.
We understand that no single practitioner possesses the entirety of requisite expertise. Instead, it attempts to arm all stakeholders with sufficient knowledge to initiate assessments aligned with the statutory eligibility criteria. However, navigating the legal landscape and establishing trust and rapport with individuals facing homelessness demand specialised skills and sensitivity.
The toolkit is intended to support practitioners in navigating these challenges, preventing the normalisation of risk, and rekindling the innate professional curiosity – centred on the criteria set out in the Care Act – essential in understanding the intricate needs of this vulnerable demographic. It’s not intended to replace any local adult safeguarding systems or processes. Rather, it’s an effort to help practitioners in fact-finding, recording, and supporting conclusions while following those processes.
In the pursuit of effective safeguarding and protection planning, we believe this toolkit represents a catalyst for change in our approach to safeguarding individuals experiencing homelessness.
We will be hosting a webinar via Homeless Link on Wednesday 20th December at 10am as an introduction to using the Toolkit. Please register your place via the button below.
We would really value your feedback for future developments and iterations of the resource. Please email: Bruno@csafeguardinghub.co.uk and firstname.lastname@example.org
The toolkit was originally developed by Bruno Ornelas, Andy Meakin, Fiona Bateman, Dr. Michelle Cornes, and Dr. Laura Pritchard-Jones with support and feedback from people with lived experience at Expert Citizens CIC.
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