My Lords, I support the amendment in the name of my noble friend Lady Greengross on the duty to report adults at risk, which replicates a duty within the Welsh Bill. I spoke to a similar amendment in Committee.
Providers, together with other partners, will often be best placed to identify abuse and neglect, and it makes sense for them to report to the local authority. At Winterbourne View there were 40 safeguarding alerts, 29 incidents where the police were involved and 78 attendances at A&E but agencies did not take any action. They believed it was someone else’s duty to report and take action. Putting this duty in the Bill would emphasise its importance and would be a vital step in ensuring that the local authority is notified so that it can then take the appropriate action. Leaving this to guidance and local protocols is not a satisfactory solution.
I also support my noble friend Lord Rix’s Amendments 79A and 81A on safeguarding. My noble friend has highlighted how abuse comes in many different forms. The breakdown of the nature of referrals is set out clearly in the Abuse of Vulnerable Adults in England 2012-13 report. The most common was physical abuse at 38,500. There were 24,500 referrals for financial abuse, the third highest. It seems an eminently sensible amendment to add some balance to this clause.
My noble friend’s amendment on safeguarding adults boards sending copies of their annual report to the Secretary of State also seems eminently sensible. Looking at safeguarding annual reports across the country would allow the Secretary of State to see the national picture as well as to monitor what works and what does not. Guidance can be issued where worrying trends are observed and good practice shared. This is about leadership at a national and strategic level, which could help to tackle the abuse and neglect of the most vulnerable members of our society. I do not think it is about extra bureaucracy.