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Whorlton Hall Review: A Blueprint for Meaningful Change?

Now the dust has begun to settle on Whorlton Hall, our attention inevitably shifts to what we can learn from this case to inform and improve our practice.

There is no denying the abuse perpetrated in this case had a profound impact upon individuals, as discussed in my recent podcast with Lawrence Chadwick-Smith. You can have a listen right here:

Equally, the length of the sentences handed down to former employees has been met with dismay and anger both within the social care community and beyond.

So what will we, as providers of services supporting individuals with a learning disability change as a result of this case?

I'm not suggesting that abuse is an issue in your services; most teams are dedicated to providing good, empowering, person-centred support. But neither am I suggesting that the potential for abuse doesn't exist in any service, that would be naive. What I am saying is that all providers can learn something from this case; whether that be the robustness of recruitment processes, auditing of documentation, or education and development of your staff teams.

Now, based on the recommendations from the Serious Case Review, here are my tips on how you can practically reduce the likelihood of another Whorlton Hall:

  1. Have robust recruitment policies which are reviewed regularly involving both frontline managers and HR partners

  2. Ensure communication is maintained between HR, frontline managers, the DBS and prospective employees throughout the recruitment cycle

  3. A clear, detailed, and transparent policy and procedure for investigating disclosures and allegations of abuse. This should define the right for victims and whistleblowers to be believed and sensitively supported

  4. Policies to be reviewed in accordance with local safeguarding guidance; review should involve your organisation's Designated Safeguarding Lead and local stakeholders

  5. A clear and detailed procedure for assessing risk to each individual. Risk assessments to be conducted fairly, involving the individual, their family, and appropriate members of the multidisciplinary team

  6. Involve individuals, their families, and frontline teams inclusively in regular quality assurance checks. Ask questions, listen to feedback, and act on it. These individuals have direct experience of quality and safety of service!

  7. Invest in the skill base of your teams. The value of specialist training, peer mentoring, and research opportunities will empower them to confidently provide support. Staff who feel invested in will deliver services with competence and passion

I'd love to help you empower your teams to provide the best possible support. Why not start by downloading the "Dos and Don'ts of Safeguarding:

Or for an informal chat about creating a solution tailored specifically to your team and the individuals they support, please book into my calendar:

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