Institutional Abuse Highlights Importance of Proper Training

A report published today highlights inadequacies in training and development for staff caring for vulnerable adults, says Skills for Care. The joint report, by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and the Healthcare Commission, highlighted evidence of serious and widespread institutional abuse in services provided for people with learning disabilities by the Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust, and a lack of knowledge of best practice among staff. 

CEO of Skills for Care, Andrea Rowe said: “The report’s call for a national audit of NHS and independent healthcare providers is a welcome move if it means that others who have failed to properly induct and train staff are identified.  This appalling abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults demonstrates why social care managers must take responsibility for appropriate training and development, and provide leadership to staff.  Skills for Care clearly sets out the standards of skills and qualifications, and provides all the necessary tools managers need to develop a professional and skilled workforce.  These tools have clearly not been used in this case.”

Skills for Care sets out clear Common Induction Standards, which enable staff to recognise and respond to abuse and neglect, and if necessary blow the whistle on suspected offenders. Under the Care Standards Act these are mandatory for all registered care homes, but are not currently mandatory for NHS and its independent providers.

The Learning Disability Framework Awards at levels two and three are currently being revised to link with Skills for Care’s Common Induction Standards, and will soon include a mandatory unit on protecting people who have a learning disability from abuse and neglect.  The current awards include a foundation unit on understanding abuse, and mandatory units on protection from abuse.  Protection is also a core unit of the social care NVQ levels two, three and four.  

Andrea concluded: “We would like to see our induction standards become mandatory for all care services, including those run by NHS trusts and independent organisations.”