Vulnerable Persons Policy


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Vulnerable Persons Policy

Statement

Negligence Claimline considers it the duty of all staff and associates, (customers and suppliers) to protect vulnerable people whom they come into contact with.

Introduction

Negligence Claimline is involved in providing services for a wide range of people. Some of these people are likely to be classed as ‘vulnerable.’

This policy is based on the DMA White Paper, the guidance for call centres dealing with vulnerable people.

Negligence Claimline and it’ associates have obligations to strive to protect vulnerable persons who they believe to be at risk. The risk factors can include bereavement, illiteracy, illness, disability or any other impairment.

The policy and procedures have been developed to assist Negligence Claimline and its associates in acting on reported or suspected abuse.

Definitions

Associates is defined as any customer or supplier of Negligence Claimline

DMA defines a vulnerable person as:

A person who is suffering from bereavement, illiteracy, disability or any other imparement including abuse.

Abuse is defined as:

Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons.

Categories of Abuse

Negligence Claimline recognises six categories of abuse:

Physical abuse, including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint, or inappropriate sanctions

Sexual abuse, including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable person has not consented, or could not consent or was pressured into consenting;

Psychological abuse, including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks;

Financial or material abuse, including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits;

Neglect and acts of omission, including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating; and

Discriminatory abuse, including racist, sexist, that based on a person’s disability, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.

Responsibilities of Staff and Associates

All staff and associates have a responsibility to be aware and alert to signs that all is not well with a vulnerable person. However, they are not responsible for diagnosing, investigating or providing a therapeutic response to abuse. In addition, not all concerns relate to abuse, there may well be other explanations. It is important to keep an open mind and consider what is known about the vulnerable person and his or her circumstances. No action should be taken without discussion with a member of the management team of Negligence Claimline.

Disclosure of Abuse

If a vulnerable person discloses that they are being abused or any service user discloses that they are involved in abuse of a vulnerable person, action should continue as in Section 8. All action must proceed urgently and without delay.

Suspicion of Abuse

There may be circumstances when an associate or member of staff suspects that a vulnerable person is being abused or neglected.

It is vital that any anyone who suspects a vulnerable person is being neglected or abused discusses the situation immediately with his or her line manager or another member of the management team. Action should continue as in Section 9.

Action on Disclosure of Abuse

There should always be the opportunity to discuss welfare concerns with and seek advice from colleagues, managers and other agencies, but:

  • Never delay emergency action to protect a vulnerable person
  • Always record in writing concerns about a vulnerable person’s welfare, whether or not further action is taken
  • Always record in writing discussions about a vulnerable person’s welfare.
  • At the close of discussion, always reach clear and explicit recorded agreement about who will be taking what action, or that no further action will be taken.

At all times action must proceed urgently.

A staff member or associate informed of abuse should remind the service user that the company cannot guarantee confidentiality where a vulnerable person is at risk of abuse or further abuse.

Associates should consult with Negligence Claimline before taking any action.

Additionally, all action taken following a disclosure of abuse should be discussed in advance with Negligence Claimline.

In circumstances where a service user declines to disclose, despite some work having been done towards disclosing, it may be necessary to report the alleged abuse without the service user’s agreement. In these circumstances, a service user must be notified in advance of the decision to report to the necessary parties.

Any staff member may report a disclosure of abuse to the appropriate authorities irrespective of the opinion of other staff.

It is important for staff and associates to make written records of any incidents or concerns that they have as soon as possible. It is also important to make a record of conversations with the vulnerable person.

Full written records must be maintained of all disclosures and actions following disclosure.

Action on Suspicion of Abuse

There should always be the opportunity to discuss welfare concerns with and seek advice from colleagues, managers and other agencies, but:

  • Never delay emergency action to protect a vulnerable person
  • Always record in writing concerns about a vulnerable person’s welfare, whether or not further action is taken
  • Always record in writing discussions about a vulnerable person’s welfare.
  • At the close of discussion, always reach clear and explicit recorded agreement about who will be taking what action, or that no further action will be taken.

At all times action must proceed urgently.

Associates should consult with the staff member co-ordinating their service before taking any action.

Additionally, all action taken following suspicion of abuse should be discussed in advance with Negligence Claimline.

In all cases of suspected abuse Negligence Claimline should discuss whether issues relevant to different cultures and lifestyles have any bearing on the matter.

As an organisation Negligence Claimline welcomes the fact that people and lifestyles are diverse and does not make judgements about the acceptability or otherwise of lifestyles. However it is important that this philosophy does not stand in the way of the organisation's responsibility to protect vulnerable people from harm.

Any staff member may report a suspicion of abuse to social services irrespective of the opinion of other staff.

It is important for staff and associates to make written records of any incidents or concerns that they have as soon as possible and if appropriate to include sketches of sites and sizes of injuries. It is also important to make a record of conversations with the vulnerable person.

Full written records must be maintained of all disclosures and actions following disclosure.

Allegation of Abuse Made Against a Staff Member or Associate

Negligence Claimline and associates may be subject to abuse allegations. All allegations will be fully investigated and appropriate action taken. The disciplinary procedure may be implemented.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is central to the work of Negligence Claimline, and the attention of all staff and associates is drawn to the Confidentiality Policy.