Charter wins CIH award for safeguarding approach
Charter’s safeguarding approach seeks to keep tenants safe in their homes
November saw Charter’s ‘Cause for Concern’ project win a Welsh Chartered Institute of Housing Award for promoting equality, support and inclusion. It is an encouraging recognition of a safeguarding approach that is now embedded into Charter’s culture.
“We developed ‘Cause for Concern’ in October 2014 after realising there were far more vulnerable children, adults and domestic abuse victims living in our homes than we previously thought. Once we became aware we could improve our awareness and approach, we wanted to do something about it” says Stephen Evans, Charter’s Director of Housing.
Housing staff are well placed to spot the signs and warnings of a variety of issues; ‘Cause for Concern’ provided a simple and clear process that means staff can report any concerns they may have. Staff have been trained to recognise the signs of abuse, especially domestic abuse, adults at risk and children at risk.
Charter staff can report their concerns using a simple form, which is sent to a group of experienced staff who can decide on the appropriate action.
The ‘Cause for Concern’ database records cases, actions and outcomes. This helps to assess every case and gives Charter an overall view of how the process is working, thus helping them to establish any training needs and make changes to policies and procedures.
Stephen Evans explains, “Since the project was launched, staff have reported huge numbers of cases. 177 of our staff have been trained to recognise potential problems and since 2014 we have reported and investigated 435 incidents of Domestic Violence, 70 child safety incidents and 219 adult safety incidents.
Safeguarding vulnerable tenants is incredibly important to us and we have always taken this very seriously. ‘Cause for Concern’ is a simple but effective way of supporting our tenants to stay safe in their homes.”
Staff from across Charter have been making referrals through ‘Cause for Concern’. A recent referral from a member of the Customer Services Team has meant that one tenant who was experiencing abuse from her partner, is now living in a new home where she feels safe.
Tony Cox works in Charter’s Anti-social Behaviour Team and is part of the ‘Cause for Concern’ group, responding to and advising on referrals made by staff, he said “The real success has been that existing experienced staff have championed and developed the ‘Cause for Concern’ process. For staff, being able to pass on a concern and know it will be investigated quickly can be a weight off their shoulders.”
The ‘Cause for Concern’ process is now an important part of Charter’s safeguarding approach and it’s proving an effective way of bringing safeguarding to the front door of Charter’s tenants. The process will continue to be developed and improved, seeking to ensure that our Charter tenants feel safe in their homes.