RQIA Publishes Review of Protocol for the Joint Investigation of Alleged or Suspected Cases of Abuse

RQIA and CJI have today published a review of the implementation of the protocol for joint investigation of alleged or suspected cases of abuse of vulnerable adults. The protocol, launched in July 2009, aims to protect vulnerable adults through the promotion of a multiagency approach to investigation, involving health and social care trusts, the PSNI and RQIA.

The review assessed progress made by those involved in the implementation of the protocol since its introduction. The review team noted that effective working relationships have been established at operational and strategic level within the partner organisations, particularly between trusts and the PSNI. The establishment of a Local Adult Safeguarding Partnership in each trust has fundamentally changed the governance of adult protection services. In addition, the work streams under the NI Adult Safeguarding Partnership have brought a clearer focus on the safeguarding and protection of vulnerable adults.

The review team also noted the need for all organisations to ensure information is recorded in a consistent manner on the forms laid out within the protocol, including those considering the human rights of vulnerable adults.
Glenn Houston, RQIA Chief Executive, said: “Safeguarding vulnerable adults requires a rigorous and well coordinated approach between social services and other agencies including the PSNI. The joint protocol supports health and social care professionals in taking appropriate and timely actions in responding to allegations of abuse. As a joint signatory to the protocol, RQIA will continue to use its enforcement powers to ensure the protection of vulnerable adults.”
Brendan McGuigan, CJI Deputy Chief Inspector, added: “The review has established that effective working relationships are being forged between PSNI and the various health trusts. This is helping create the conditions where vulnerable adults are being protected and where offences involving them are being investigated appropriately by both police officers and social services staff.”

The review team made a range of recommendations for those organisations involved, reinforcing the need to adhere to the guidance within the protocol in relation to governance, training and record keeping. They also recommend that the protocol is kept under review to ensure learning and emerging legislation in this area is taken into account.

View report.