abuse vulnerable adults in their care starts today.
The Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) scheme effectively bans
working in a care position again. The scheme places a statutory duty
on care providers to check whether a potential employee is on the
POVA list before allowing them to work in a care position.
Health minister Stephen Ladyman said:
'Together with existing CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) Disclosures,
references and other good pre-employment practices, the POVA scheme
will mean that those intent on harming vulnerable adults will find it
extremely difficult to find jobs in care homes and domiciliary care
'There is no point in tackling abuse by professionals however,
without tackling the causes of abuse such as poor standards of care
and poorly trained and supported staff. This is why we have worked
hard to drive up standards of care through the National Minimum
Standards and the National Service Framework for Older People. We
will continue this work in conjunction with the relevant professional
bodies to better equip and support the social care workforce.'
In response to concerns voiced by providers around maintaining
staffing levels, the new scheme will also include a POVAFirst check.
This check, to be used only in exceptional circumstances where
service users may be put at risk because of recruitment problems,
provides a 'fast' check against the POVA list. If no match is found,
the employee will be allowed to start work pending receipt of a full
CRB Disclosure and POVA check and as long as other supervisory
measures are in place. These include making a named individual, on
duty at the same time as the new member of staff, personally
responsible for his or her supervision; and mandatory induction
training (previously recommended as good practice). If the result of
the POVAFirst check proves inconclusive, the employer will be advised
to wait for the full Disclosure before proceeding.
Hilary Scott, chair of Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) said:
'AEA welcomes the introduction of the POVA list and to have had the
opportunity to work with the Department of Health and other
organisations on the development and implementation of this important
policy. However, there is, as always, more to do if vulnerable people
are to be protected in all social and health care settings. We look
forward to continuing work with the Department and all those
determined to ensure vulnerable adults have the right protection.'
Frank Ursell, chief executive at the Registered Nursing Home
Association (RNHA) said:
'The RNHA welcomes the implementation of the POVA scheme as being an
essential additional safeguard for nursing home owners to help them
to prevent anybody who poses a risk to our patients being employed in
POVA will complement much of the good work that is already happening
in the field following on from the government's 'No Secrets'
framework published in 2000. This includes:
Halton BC social services has developed a Basic Awareness
Training Video for agencies to use with front line staff to raise
awareness of the various types of abuse. They have also participated
in a project led by Liverpool University to establish the prevalence
of reported incidents of abuse, outcomes of subsequent investigations
and the satisfaction of service users.
Sheffield City Council social services has developed a traffic light monitoring
procedure and risk assessment tool that triggers a process of close
monitoring and intervention when independent services are failing.
Bradford District adult protection committee runs a 'No Secrets'
training course every week which, since August 2003, has trained more
than 600 front line workers using a multi-agency pool of 25 trainers.
Derby and Derbyshire adult protection committee launched a campaign
to let vulnerable adults in the area know where to turn if they were
being abused, harmed or exploited. Cue cards explaining the type of
person who may be a vulnerable adult and detailing correct procedures
to follow were also handed out to all staff from agencies involved
with vulnerable adults in the course of their jobs.
1. The POVA scheme applies to care homes and domiciliary care
agencies in England and Wales.
2. Guidance and a FAQ document can be found on the Department of
Health website - www.dh.gov.uk - by typing 'vulnerable adults' into
the search engine.
3. The provisions of the POVA list are set out in Part VII of the
Care Standards Act 2000. The scheme will be implemented in the NHS as
soon as possible.
4. The POVAFirst check is an optional CRB service. On receipt of an
email request and a correctly completed Disclosure application form
from the Registered Body, the CRB will make a check against the POVA
list and notify the Registered Body within two to three days of the
result. They will check whether the POVA list contains details of a
person with the same name and date of birth as the person being
considered for the care position. The CRB will only process a
POVAFirst check if they have accepted a completed Disclosure
5. The actual POVA list will be maintained on behalf of the
Department of Health by the Department for Education and Skills
(DfES) working to a Service Level Agreement. This arrangement will
capitalise on the experience of DfES in operating the equivalent list
for children, the Protection of Children Act (POCA) list. A person
who is referred for possible inclusion on the POVA list may also be
considered for inclusion on the POCA list, and vice versa.