In September 2000, the Welsh Assembly Government (formerly known as the National Assembly for Wales) through its Social Services Inspectorate, launched a guidance document entitled In Safe Hands. This guidance called for the development and implementation of multi-agency policies and procedures to protect and support vulnerable adults from abuse and inappropriate care. At this point in time (June 2011) the document is currently under review

The South Wales Adult Protection Forum was created in 2001 as a multi agency group to co-ordinate policy and procedures, evaluate adult protection, develop awareness to all staff and the general public, provide training opportunities and analyse performance management data regarding referrals and their outcomes relating to Adult Protection.

The Welsh Assembly Government through The All Wales Advisory Group commissioned a report entitled “Evaluation of Adult Protection structures and procedures across Wales.” which was published in March 2006. In this report the South Wales Adult Protection Forum was seen by its members as more influential than the other regional fora, and there was a consistent message of the positive role of the Forum within the region. This view seemed to come from a consolidation of several factors - the membership (every key agency is represented at a senior level), the work which has been done to engage all partners, the co-operation and joint working in order to achieve consistency and quality across the region whilst at the same time respecting the individual ownership of responsibility at local level of each AAPC, all of which are chaired by a head of service

Some of SWAP’s achievements to date have been:

  • The development of consistent policy and practice guidance for use by all agencies and individuals to protect vulnerable adult from abuse.
  • The creation of consistent documentation and guidance for use by all agencies to refer concerns and record decisions. (VA1, VA1a, VA2 and VA3)
  • Assisting the development of 7 Area Adult Protection Committees (AAPCs) across the South Wales areas.
  • Establishing a multi-agency training strategy to raise awareness of adult protection issues not only amongst professionals involved in the care of vulnerable adults but also amongst the public in general.
  • Establishing a web-site to promote awareness of adult protection and the work and role of the Forum.
  • Developing a web based E Learning package to support adult protection training
  • Creating strategic links with other public protection fora such as the South Wales Child Protection Forum, the MAPPPA Strategic Management Board (management of dangerous and sex offenders), the South Wales Domestic Abuse Forum and the All Wales Adult Protection Advisory Group
  • Forum new member’s induction pack
  • POVA list Guidance
  • Non criminal Investigation Guidance
  • Mental Capacity Act guidance
  • Regional Conference regarding the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act and to raise awareness of POVA
  • Inter agency level 3 training package. to support and add consistency to the decision making processes of POVA
  • Monitoring/evaluation the impact of an Intermediary Pilot Project in South Wales Police Area to support those victims and Witnesses, who, due to severe communication difficulties, were in the past denied access to the criminal justice processes.
  • Guidance for designated Lead Managers on Thresholds for evoking inter agency POVA processes
  • Guidance on the Interface between Strategy and Case Conference Processes to achieve consistency and to create clear distinction between the two separate stages of the POVA process.
  • Designated Lead Manager Seminars In order to disseminate the guidance in relation to Thresholds, Intermediaries, Non Criminal Investigations and Use of Intermediaries.
  • Development of PVA2/VA4 data recording Forms and Practice guidance to achieve consistent data collection across the Wales in conjunction with the Data Unit of the Welsh Assembly Government.
  • Production of ‘Everybody’s Business’ POVA DVD to be used by public and professionals alike to develop and raise awareness of adult protection issues.
  • To date tens of thousands of professionals and carers involved in the care and protection of vulnerable adults have received specific role related training developed to support them in their individual roles and workplaces to prevent abuse and protect the vulnerable.

Members of the South Wales Adult Protection Forum were instrumental in the development of a Wales Policy and Procedures for the protection of Vulnerable Adults from abuse. This policy and practice guidance endeavours to create a single consistent and uniform policy and practice guidance across Wales for all key statutory partner agencies that have a primary responsibility for the care, support and protection of vulnerable adults. This Policy was agreed for implementation across all the member agencies from the 1st of April 2011.

In collaboration with others, it aims to develop strategies that are designed to prevent and / or reduce the risk of abuse/inappropriate care from occurring. The protocols set out in this document aim to clarify and support the roles and responsibilities of practitioners and managers in all agencies tasked with caring for and supporting vulnerable adults.

With the development of local Area Adult Protection Committees a review of the form and function of the regional forum was undertaken and in September 2010 Forum a working group set up to complete the review tabled a briefing paper and draft terms of reference.

The group had considered the past work of the Forum and its’ role in developing and driving forward what was then a new POVA agenda across all constituent member agencies and raising awareness of POVA issues to both public and professionals alike.

The group acknowledged that a strong regional forum was key factor in ensuring that POVA continued to placed high on the National agenda and that constituent member agencies continued to evidence ownership of and commitment to agreed national policies and consistent implementation and practice at an agency level in order that the role of the regional forum is strengthened and its strategic fit with both National bodies and local APCs can be clarified.

The strength of the Forum had been evidenced by the fact that on behalf of its constituent agencies it had been able to challenge proposed national policy, develop and propose amendments which have subsequently been agreed by all member agencies and accepted at a National level.

It was agreed that after ten years it was now appropriate to re focus the role and function of the regional forum. In March 2011 the group met for the first time under its new title of the South Wales Safeguarding Adults Strategic Management Board The Board now consists of senior representatives from a diverse range of statutory, organisations.

Whilst the South Wales Safeguarding Adults Strategic Management Board has produced proposals for individual agencies in South Wales to consider, the responsibility for agreeing adult protection policies and procedures rests with individual agencies. However, there is an expectation that agencies will ensure that their staff and contractors will comply with the policy.

It was identified that that the future role of the Board would be to provide a strategic focus across the statutory organisations responsible for safeguarding vulnerable adults across South Wales and to achieve this it set itself a number of aims;

The aims of the Board are;

  • To provide a common strategic direction in relation to safeguarding vulnerable adults for:
    • all key statutory partner agencies that have a primary responsibility for the care, support and protection of vulnerable adults and
    • are located within the boundaries of the South Wales Police Authority area, and
    • who formally subscribe to the All Wales Policy / Procedures for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults
  • To provide a single structure to
    • Create;
    • ratify; and
    • ensure commitment to the implementation of any strategic development and policy initiative relating to safeguarding vulnerable adults on behalf of each of the key statutory Agencies

The full terms of reference for the South Wales Safeguarding Adults Strategic Management Board can be found in the Forms and supporting guidance page of this web site.

For ease of reference, the geographical area defined by ‘South Wales’ is a region encompassing the South Wales Police Authority area, which in itself is co-terminus with the area individually covered by the seven Unitary Authorities of Bridgend, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea, the Vale of Glamorgan, and three Local Health Boards, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Local Health Board, Cwm Taf Local Health Board, Cardiff and the Vale University Local Health Board and Velindre NHS Trust.