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Board Manager’s Blog

August 2020 | Cleaning out the toaster: A shock to our system and the need for a safeguarding ‘PAT test’

The other week our smoke alarm went off. The shrill piercing noise filled the house and as I came down stairs to investigate, the strong smell of burnt toast gave me a good idea of the cause. During lockdown my toaster has seen (and continues to see) a lot of action! Time to clear it out, I thought.

I regularly empty the crumb tray, but it was some bigger bits that had fallen to the bottom that I needed to get out. It took a good 10 minutes of holding the toaster upside down, tilting it this way and that (and a bit of vigorous shaking) to get the job done.

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July 2020 | A tiny piece of flint: small acts … big impacts

In a similar way that actors are said to avoid saying the name of William Shakespeare's play Macbeth when in the theatre (the euphemism ‘The Scottish Play’ is used instead), so do some cyclists avoid the word ‘puncture’. The word ‘mechanical’ is used as an alternative.

Out for a ride last week, I got one such ‘mechanical’. After 20 minutes of struggle (and with some help), a tiny piece of flint was found and removed from the tyre. The smallest of objects, and a small act that had a ripple effect on my day.

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June 2020 | How defrosting my freezer focused me on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

I am posting this blog today (Monday 15th June) to coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), following United Nations resolution 66/127. More about this later.

One evening last week I didn’t shut our freezer door properly and I came down the next morning to a fridge which looked like a scene from Frozen! When I did finally manage to prize the top freezer drawer open, the contents were completely obscured by ice and frost. You might be someone who knows exactly what is in your freezer at any time. Me? I’m not so sure. I need ‘eyes on’ to know what is inside.

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May 2020 | What’s your daily safeguarding ‘exercise’?

This blog is dedicated to Grant Lockett who sadly died on Sunday 03 May 2020. Grant was dedicated supporter of the board and actively involved its work. In particular I worked with Grant helping NSAB develop its work on self-neglect and hoarding. A great man and a fantastic colleague. My deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and friends.

I have found getting out of the house to exercise once a day has really helped me at the moment. I find that back-to-back Teams meeting can be quite demanding and I am thankful I can jump on the bike and go for a short ride. Moving the blood around the body helps to clear the head. The joy of endorphins.

The official government advice on beating Coronavirus changed on Sunday 10th May to include as much daily exercise as people want, as long as they observe social distancing. This acknowledges the importance of ...

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April 2020 | Behind closed doors

We have never seen or responded to anything like this!’ Comments or words to that effect have been shared with me numerous times in the past 3 weeks by colleagues who work in a whole range of different settings. No one could have predicted the series of events we are all living through.

On the evening of Friday 20th March the Prime Minister requested the closure of pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues, museums and galleries. Three days later on Monday 23rd March the government directed people to stay at home except for essential purchases, essential work travel (if remote work was not possible), medical needs, one exercise per day (alone or with household members). We all started a period of ‘lockdown’.

At the time of writing this blog, how things have changed! In just 25 days ... 

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March 2020 | A different landscape for safeguarding

For all of us, last week was like nothing we had ever worked through before. Writing in The Guardian on Saturday 21 March, Jonathan Freedland said:

‘In the course of a week the British landscape has changed, and changed utterly. Once-crowded streets are deserted. Schools are closed, summer exams cancelled. Football grounds are padlocked. Theatres are dark, cinemas silent.'

The scale and breadth of developments of measures against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health threat was staggering. I am sure by the time you read this we will be in a different situation again.

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February 2020 | Conversations on the stairs

Free gym anyone? The early part of the year might be when we think more about the exercise we all need to keep healthy. One advantage of working on the eighth floor of County Hall is the stairs! Up and down a couple of times a day doesn’t half add to the daily steps. It is not unusual I pass a colleague in the stairwell and we stop for a quick catchup.

On this particular day I was going down the stairs and passed a colleague on the way up. We stopped to share news about the recent publication of the Safeguarding Adults Reviews cases of Ms F and Mr G. At the end of conversation, my colleague said:

… don’t forget Walter, great things in safeguarding are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people’

This phase has stuck to me like Velcro (see May 2016 blog | We need more Velcro ... can you help?).

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January 2020 | Drive the learning

Returning from a cycle ride the other day I pulled up at some traffic lights behind a learner driver. Through the rear window I could see the instructor talking to the driver, who was preparing to move off from the lights. The lights changed and the learner driver needed to move off – to carefully bring the clutch up - gently pressing the accelerator until it met the ‘biting point’ – and to check their mirrors as the car slowly started to move.

On this occasion it was not the smoothest manoeuvre in the history of driving. The engine screamed as the car moved, then it kangarooed forward 2 or 3 times before the engine stalled. I felt for the learner driver as I could see them desperately trying to reset the task while looking quite flustered with the instructor giving directions to help.

I was suddenly reminded of my struggles when learning that aspect of driving.

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December 2019 | Knitting Norfolk’s safeguarding jumper

Last week I was in London for a meeting of the homelessness & safeguarding national reference group. As the meeting was a short distance from Liverpool St and the city was heaving with office workers on their Christmas meals out and others doing Christmas shopping, I decided it was quicker to walk than use the tube. I wove my way through the crowds and over the river, I passed one large group all wearing their Christmas jumpers (some tasteful, other completely OTT).

As I passed, I heard the ‘flashing Christmas tree’ tell the ‘reindeer’ he had caught his jumper on something and pulled a thread. ‘Just pull it’, the Christmas tree said. ‘No’ exclaimed the reindeer ‘it will only make it worse’.

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November 2019 | 10 minutes … (plus no one can do everything, but everyone CAN DO something)

What can you do in 10 minutes? Well, as it turns out quite a lot when you put your mind to it!

On a night out the other evening with some of my safeguarding colleagues I asked this very question. Admittedly it was some way into the evening after a few drinks had been enjoyed.

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October 2019 | Champions

Quiz question: what word connects a children’s TV programme which ran from the mid-1970s to 1995, a football chant and the athletics coach and BBC sports commentator Ronald Pickering?

Answer: Champions or ‘We Are the Champions’, the childrens TV sports programme. Along with The Banana Splits, Grange Hill, Why Don't You? (or to give its full title Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead?), it was one of the TV programmes I grow up with.

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September 2019 | ‘It’s easier to get tickets for Glastonbury …’

An area of work I have been trying to develop over the last few years is to create opportunities when our growing network of adult safeguarding colleagues can get together to discuss topical issues. We have benefited from high profile colleagues including Dr Adi Cooper (Care and Health Improvement Advisor for London for the Local Government Association, and lead on adult safeguarding), Kenny Gibson (Head of Safeguarding for the NHS) and recently Luke and Ryan Hart, who spoke about domestic abuse and coercive control.

These events are growing in popularity, which promoted a colleague’s comment that they had more chance of getting tickets of Glastonbury than an NSAB seminar! I look forward to the day the board has to open a ticket hotline to future events.

So it is with pleasure that we have just announced details for the ... 

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August 2019 | NSAB’s one small step

July saw lots of stories, documents and films to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Too young to remember this event first time around, I have been gripped by the recent coverage.

One of my favourites is the film Apollo 11. Director Todd Douglas Miller and his team worked through 11,000 hours of unreleased audio and film from the Apollo 11 mission, in partnership with NASA and the National Archives and it is a stunning watch. What was a surprise was the astronauts’ humour among moments of real high drama and tension.

At 10.56 pm ET on July 20, 1969, Armstrong put his left foot on the lunar surface and famously declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” This phrase has become universally recognised and there are a number of theories about it, see Lots of People Have Theories About Neil Armstrong's 'One Small Step for Man' Quote. Here's What We Really Know by Waxman. There is a long running debate about the missing ‘a' – in the audio from the moon, Armstrong sounds as if he’s saying “one small step for man,” and that’s the wording that appeared in contemporary reports on the moment. But wouldn’t it make more sense for him to have said “one small step for a man”?

The image of one small step, of Armstrong and Aldrin stepping into the unknown, came to me as I stood in front of a room full of colleagues about to open the first meeting of the safeguarding board’s new subgroups – the PML subgroup

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July 2019 | Self neglect – a surprising conversation starter

Last week I attended the wedding of a good (recently retired) work colleague. Both bride and groom looked stunning, the venue was lovely, weather perfect, it was an all round great day. Knowing only a very small number of the other guests, I had lots of conversations with people I had not met before during the celebrations. Starting conversations is an art and a necessary skill for almost everything in life. Conversations introduce you to people who may go on to be good friends or with whom you go on to build a shared interest or work connection.

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June 2019 | The power of a piece of paper

When I was studying for ‘A’ levels we had meetings with the school’s career advisor to prepare us for our next options, including entering the world of work. At that time there was a strong perception that the workplace of the future would be ‘paperless’.

A paperless office is a working environment that has greatly reduced or totally eliminated the need for paper documents by converting them into digital formats. Research shows that a paperless office is not only more environmentally friendly, but also helps boost the productivity and efficiency of an office by saving money and making work processes easier and more convenient, as digital documents can be easily shared between users.

But as an everyday item, could paper have had its day in the era of the smartphone, internet and digital communications? Should NSAB go ‘paperless’ too and stop using paper in its work to raise awareness about safeguarding adults? I was recently given a very powerful lesson in just how in important a piece of paper can be.

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May 2019 | Choosing the right ‘safeguarding gear

Regular readers of this blog may recall I like to cycle. It’s good for my physical and mental health. I try and get out on the bike at least twice a week, usually including one of the rides organised by Pedal Revolution, the cycle shop. Earlier this year Pedal Revolution started PARK PEDAL, a ride around Whitlingham Broad in Norwich. Inspired by the successful park runs, PARK PEDAL is a recreational ride aimed at families and new riders, or those just needing an excuse to get out on 2 wheels. At just under 5 miles, it is perfect for little legs (there is a 2.5 mile version if needed). There is also a club café ride.

I arrived the other Saturday morning for ... 

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April 2019 | The progress question: each piece of ‘straw’ helping break adult abuse

Abuse and harm of adults is such a huge social issue, it can be hard to see any progress being made. So said a colleague a couple of weeks ago: Don’t get me wrong they said ‘I am very much committed to doing everything I can to tackling it [adult abuse], taking action, supporting those who are abused, but are we making progress?

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March 2019 | Two cans and a piece of string – sending, receiving (and acting on) a message

Do you remember as a kid making your own ‘telecommunication network’? OK – that’s a rather elaborate description for two tins connected by a piece of string. One person talks into their cup, the bottom of the cup vibrates and the sound waves travel along the string (providing it’s kept taut) to the bottom of the second cup, allowing the second person to hear what they’re saying.

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February 2019 | Grand Designs? How you can help us build Norfolk’s safeguarding adult board’s architecture

I do enjoy watching Channel 4’s Grand Designs programme, which follows individuals’ attempts to design and construct the home of their dreams. There is often that moment of drama when a key stage of the project may or may not work – the custom-made steel structure designed to very meticulous measurements does not actually fit, or 100s of cubic metres of quick drying concrete needs to be in place against the clock or the weather.  

Alongside the ‘will they, won’t they?’ drama, presenter Kevin McCloud explores the ideas and vision which sit behind the practical process of construction - the way in which the lines and shapes on a piece of paper get off the page and become the built environment, how the architectural plan translates into what the person is asking of the building. I have always liked looking at the vision and precision of architectural drawings.

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January 2019 | A safeguarding haircut

I go to get my hair cut about every four to six weeks. I have been going to Darren for a good number of years now. Before him it was Nick for twenty years plus. In fact, I can remember feeling a little apprehensive when I made the change and saw Darren for the first time. Would he cut my hair as I liked it? Having your hair washed and cut is a very intimate thing. And it takes time to find the right hairdresser* to do this. This is someone you will see on a regular basis, possible for years. 

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November 2018 | Help to pump up the volume

A few weeks ago, in order to progress an important piece of work, I met with two lead safeguarding adults colleagues (one from housing, the other from health) after work. A 6pm meeting was made ‘do-able’ by having a bite to eat and a pint (just one, as we were driving) in the pub. And yes, we got some good work done as well.

The soundtrack playing in the pub was a ...

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October 2018 | How we all can be safeguarding ‘fuses’

Getting ready for work a few Mondays ago, I went to iron a shirt. Or rather, I tried to, but I was getting no joy from the iron. I checked the heat setting and the power, till I narrowed down the problem to the fuse. I opened up the plug, changed the fuse, and thankfully the problem was solved. I looked at this small piece of electrical engineering in my hand which had rescued my Monday morning.

The fuse’s function is to keep the iron safe. I began to think: what would be the safeguarding adult equivalent of the fuse?

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September 2018 | The first female journalist’s safeguarding message

On Saturday evening I was sitting in Dragon Hall on King’s Street, Norwich. I had come to hear Stuart Hobday talk about Harriet Martineau as part of the Heritage Open Days. I confess my ignorance here: all I knew was that Martineau is the name of the street that county hall is on. What had caught my eye was the description in the brochure – Harriet Martineau was a pioneering journalist, radical thinker and citizen of Norwich.

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April 2018 | Making Safeguarding Personal - straightforward, yes? Well, …

 At the beginning of March I presented a short paper at the third NHS East of England Safeguarding Adults Forum Annual Conference. It was on the lynchpin of our safeguarding adult practice, Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP). I was keen to explore this from a particular angle, arising from a number of cases I’ve been involved with recently.

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February 2018 | An invitation to be a critical friend

A narrative I have become much more aware of lately is one which focuses attention on what we haven’t done. My sense is that this can, on occasions, become the predominant framework through which we receive feedback. I was reading an article by ...

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January 2018

Sorry no blog.

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December 2017 | What is our safeguarding ‘cadence’?

I was out for a cycle ride the other day. The sky was clear and it was bitterly cold but dry, lovely. As I cycled along, my bike computer (cycling ‘dashboard’) was telling me some interesting information, including my cadence.

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November 2017 | What ‘insulates’ a person against abuse and harm? & I want you as a ‘safeguarding multiplier’ or ‘tell two, protect many’

A number of regular readers have got in touch, noticing there were no blogs for August and September. So, to try and make amends, November’s blog has two parts, part one What ‘insulates’ a person against abuse and harm? Part two is called I want you as a ‘safeguarding multiplier’ or ‘tell two, protect many’.

Click here to read Part 1 ...

Click here to read Part 2 ... 

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October 2017 | Mapping Adult Safeguarding for Norfolk

After a couple of days walking in the Peak District (which I would highly recommend) and the car packed ready to go, I was studying the map for the return journey route. This is a journey I have made a good number of times before, but I can never remember whether it’s better to go around Mansfield to pick up the A1 at Newark or around Nottingham, Grantham, the A52 to the A17?

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July 2017 | Small wins along the way 

April 2017 was the second anniversary of the implementation of the Care Act, which shifted the guidance on safeguarding adults to statute. In those two years we’ve travelled a long way and I believe we have got things done ... 

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May / June 2017 | Two things (part two)

In April’s blog I wrote about using an idea from economist Glen Whitman to write two succinct yet complete answers to the question, ‘what is adult safeguarding?’

I invited readers of this blog to have a go and send in their suggestions. 

Read more ...

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April 2017 | The two things test for adult safeguarding

How can you give someone a really succinct yet complete answer to the question, ‘That sounds interesting, tell me what is adult safeguarding?’

Perhaps economist Glen Whitman can help us? 

Read more ....

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March 2017 | Celebrating World Social Work Day

Tuesday 21st March is World Social Work Day. In my role as NSAB board manager I have the privilege to work alongside so many different people, including social workers, all of whom are helping take forward our safeguarding adults work for Norfolk.

Read more ....

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February 2017 | Help to ‘Heineken’ our safeguarding adults network

You may remember a series of beer adverts for Heineken shown in the 1970 and 1980s for which the tag line was ‘Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach’.

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January 2017 | A ‘surge’ against abuse – ‘what can I do to help?’

Norfolk has just seen another storm surge. Watching the news coverage I was impressed by the multi-agency nature of the response: all sorts of people working together to keep everyone safe and protect our communities. Thankfully, the high tidies of the weekend of 13th/ 14th January passed off without incident. 

Read more ...

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November / December 2016 | Thinking about financial scams as a public health issue

In mid-November I was very pleased to play a part in the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Trading Standards conference against financial scams – Join the Flight. In its second year, the event brought together the two county Trading Standards Services and regional partners to raise awareness of working together to fight scams. 

Read more ... 

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October 2016 | A safeguarding community

I popped into my local corner shop at the weekend to buy a paper and some milk and Angie, the woman who served me, asked ‘How have you been? Haven’t seen you in recently!’ (I normally go in most Saturdays). 

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August / September 2016 | What has Kevin Bacon got to do with safeguarding adult awareness week?

A fun game to play with film-loving friends is Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – that is, to find the shortest path between any given actor and Footloose movie star Kevin Bacon. Here’s an example, starting with George Clooney: Clooney was in Ocean's Eleven with Matt Damon, Matt Damon was in The Departed with Jack Nicholson, and Jack Nicholson was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon. 

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July 2016 Proud to support PRIDE

This blog is dedicated to Harold Bodmer (Executive Director of Adult Social Services and President of the ADASS) whose tragically sudden death on Wednesday 20 July has been a real shock.

On Saturday (30th July) Tristan, Nick, Kirsty and I attended Norwich Pride 2016 to help promote the safeguarding message. Norwich Pride is a celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community for everyone. And it was indeed exactly that. 

Read more ... 

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June 2016 What can Iceland's win over England tells us about adult safeguarding?

Like many, I was wondering how England's last 16 game against Iceland on Monday 27 June would turn out. Because I was preparing the paper I was due to deliver at the College of Occupational Therapists annual conference that week, I decided to record the game.

Read more ..

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May 2016 | We need more Velcro ... can you help?

In recent weeks I’ve picked up on variations of a theme that has recurred across a number of our safeguarding meetings: ‘How do we translate the recommendations in an action plan into change? How do we apply lessons to make Norfolk safer?’ A couple of weekends ago I was out walking and got my woollen scarf tangled in the Velcro on my coat. You may have had a similar experience!

Read more ...

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April 2016 |  Domestic abuse on the airwaves

I haven’t really paid any attention to Radio 4’s programme The Archers but I know lots of people do and are keen listeners. I might have caught a few minutes after the news before switching channels but I don’t tune in.

Over the past few months a number of colleagues have mentioned to me that the programme is running a story line about domestic abuse featuring ....

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March 2016 | A Must Read, Department of Health issues revised statutory guidance

This month the Department of Health has published revised statutory guidance to support local authorities and partners implement the Care Act (2014). There have been some important changes to Chapter 14 which covers adult safeguarding. Please make sure you read and familiarise yourself with the changes as this is key document for us on safeguarding adults.

Click here to see a quick overview guide of the changes.

More detailed comment will follow.

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January 2016 | Slavery in Norfolk?

Maybe, like me, when you think about the word ‘slavery’ you get an image of a 19th century slave ship from Africa, or the 1970s TV programme Roots. But two things have recently made me think about this issue in relation to Norfolk.

Read more ....

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December 2015 | ‘Soccernomics’, Brad Pitt... and a call to action

I recently started reading Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, which studies data to answer football questions like why do England lose while Germany and Brazil win? Why do so many clubs buy the wrong players or what is the best way to score a goal from a corner kick?

Read more ....

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November 2015 | The CQC’s Report, State of Care & understanding the bigger safeguarding picture in Norfolk

Norfolk Safeguarding Adult Board (SAB) met on 15th October 2015, the same day the Care Quality Commission published its mid-point inspection report called State of Care 2014/15. This was based on 5,439 organisations inspected 14 months into a 24-month inspection programme.

Read more ...

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