Journal Article

Managers' and Staff Experiences of Adult Protection Allegations in Mental Health and Learning Disability Residential Services: A Qualitative Study

Paul Rees and Jill Manthorpe

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 2, pages 513-529
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcn146
Managers' and Staff Experiences of Adult Protection Allegations in Mental Health and Learning Disability Residential Services: A Qualitative Study

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Adult protection policy slowly developed in England and Wales during the 1990s. In the same decade specialist residential services expanded for people with mental health problems and with learning disabilities, some of which were secure or semi-secure in status. Many referrals to adult protection systems emanate from this sector but few result in conclusive outcomes. This article reports on and considers adult protection workings in these settings. Data from interviews with 13 residential unit managers and 10 care workers, who were suspended following an allegation but later exonerated, are presented. Perceptions of the development of adult protection practice, policy and legislation were that these have generally led to positive outcomes. However, these data reveal other outcomes including service disruption, stress for residents, staff and managers. Service managers commented particularly on how the application of policy and practice enhances but also upsets the services they provide. Multi-agency collaboration, transparency of practice, training, reflective practice, and effective supervision of frontline staff, appeared to assist managers and care workers in negotiating the positive and negative experiences of the implementation of adult protection systems.

Keywords: Adult safeguarding; mental health; workforce; abuse; legislation

Journal Article.  6824 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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