Safeguarding children and adults during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Bridgend County Borough Council has heard how a multi-agency approach has continued to support vulnerable children and adults throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bridgend Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, which includes the local authority, South Wales Police, the health board and registered social landlords, has remained fully operational from the outset of the first lockdown.

A range of support has been put in place for children and adults. This has included access to onsite childcare provision at schools for the most vulnerable learners when schools were closed, a dedicated helpline linking up families and professionals or providing advice and assistance to help prevent issues from escalating, and the delivery of food parcels which has enabled additional contact from school staff and the vulnerable groups team.

Activities and support also took place throughout the summer last year, with 20 days of activities helping to support vulnerable young people and 260 sessions provided to young people over the four week period.

A programme for young people with additional needs who would have normally accessed a respite service during the summer months also took place, with continuing weekly online activities being run separately.

Services have been developed and adapted to ensure that the most vulnerable children and adults have been able to continue to be contacted and visited on a face-to-face basis.

Members heard that in instances where safeguarding referrals do not met the threshold for adult protection procedures, a report is compiled with further recommendations pointing them towards alternative services, or referring them for social work support.

Independent residential care providers have also been supported throughout the pandemic, and the number of Covid cases at each care home has been carefully monitored.

Claire Marchant, Director for Social Services and Wellbeing, said: “Multi-agency working and information sharing is an essential part of providing effective safeguarding services for vulnerable residents as it allows information to be shared at the earliest opportunity, reduces risk and helps us to target support and protection for adults and children without delay.

“Despite the extreme challenges that the past year has posed, multi-agency information sharing and safeguarding practices have continued to ensure that adults, children and young people remain safe within the community.”

The details were discussed were discussed by councillors as part of an update report on safeguarding during the pandemic on Wednesday 21 April.