The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 14 June 2013



Penhale, B. and Flynn, M. (2013), "Editorial", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 15 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/jap.2013.54915caa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited



Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Adult Protection, Volume 15, Issue 3.

Anyone who wants an insight into the governance of companies should look no further than the “horsemeat scandal” in the UK. Emergency testing has shown that we are not necessarily eating what manufacturers tell us we are eating. There's no scope for gratitude among non-UK resident Europeans who may be keen to assert that their palates would have discerned the difference since the horse meat trade appears to be operating at a pan European level. It has been possible for some suppliers to provide the manufacturers of burgers and beef ready meals with unrecognisable, ground down horse meat. Irregularities in the supply chain are not new with unresolved problems in authenticating horse passports familiar to the organisations able to issue them. Light touch regulation, the loss of around 700 Trading Standards Officers in three years and reductions in the Food Standards Agency's budget, mean that the quantity of laboratory checked food has reduced providing moneymaking opportunities for the unscrupulous.

Robert Francis QC has concluded his 31-month public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire hospital care during 2005-2009. Reflecting on the NHS's stubborn culture of secrecy surrounding errors, which harm or kill patients, he has proposed, inter alia, a legal “duty of candour”. We do not attempt to summarise this significant work but do commend the detailed accounts of patients’ suffering and neglect – and the ways in which concerns and complaints were set aside. Excessive attention to financial and management targets are consistently associated with inattentive patient care. Similarly, NHS reorganisation doesn’t have a promising track record in terms of enhancing patients care, Francis calls for new professionalism enhanced with a return to the sense of vocation and purpose will find no opponents and his suggestion of a Duty of Candour are surely worthy of further consideration. Fingers crossed that the report is not employed in the service of the coalition government's ideological project of introducing more “competition” and choice.

There have been significant developments following the BBC Panorama's 2011 documentary concerning cruelty, neglect and assaults at Winterbourne View Hospital. The following posting on Castlebeck's web site acknowledges that efforts to turn the company around, against a backdrop of challenge and disbelief from ex-patients and their relatives, professionals and government ministers, have not succeeded.

On 5 March 2013, Daniel Smith, David Dunckley and Joseph McLean, partners at Grant Thornton UK LLP were appointed Joint Administrators of CB Care Limited (“CB Care”), Castlebeck Care Holdings Limited (“Holdings”), Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Limited (“Teesdale”), Castlebeck Group Limited (“CB Group”), Castlebeck Property Limited (“CB Property”), Castlebeck Property Holdings Limited (“Property Holdings”) and Linear Care Limited (“Linear”). CB Care is the group holding company of CB Group, Holdings, Teesdale, CB Property, Property Holdings and Linear, which owns and operates Castlebeck learning disability/mental health care hospitals and homes.

Castlebeck operates independent hospital assessment, treatment/rehabilitation and residential care units from 20 sites located in the Midlands, North East and Scotland with a combined occupancy of 214 patients and residents.

Daniel Smith explained: “Castlebeck operates care facilities for high dependency learning disability and mental health patients and residents.

The Winterbourne View facility abuse incident led to the immediate closure of that hospital in mid-2011 with the Group promptly undertaking a root and branch internal review of its Castlebeck operations. The Group implemented changes in corporate and operating governance together with comprehensive compliance and regulatory improvements to ensure appropriate quality care provision to its patients and residents”.

Whilst the Board has focused on quality care provision and restoring confidence in the Castlebeck operations, the impact of two further unit closures in 2011 and reducing occupancy has significantly diluted Castlebeck's subsequent trading capabilities.

Following recent sales of its MHC and Young Foundations divisional operations, the Board has considered a number of strategic options for its Castlebeck operations including a sale process. With a sale of the entire business to one purchaser unlikely to be achieved in the short term, the Board has today accordingly appointed ourselves as Administrators.

A number of prospective purchasers have already shown their interest in acquiring the individual Castlebeck operating units, which will continue to operate and trade normally whilst such sales are progressed, and new owners for the operating units emerge.

We are engaged in discussions with the care regulators, local authorities and other stakeholders regarding the Administration processes.

All 214 patients and residents will continue to receive the highest level of medical, nursing and clinical care from Castlebeck's own team of doctors, clinicians, nurses and carers. The Castlebeck care and nursing staff will work closely with the Administrators to ensure that the welfare of all patients and residents remains the priority.

The Grant Thornton team undertaking this Administration has significant experience of specialist care operations. Its role will be to work closely with the Castlebeck management and staff on operational and financial aspects of the care businesses to deliver a seamless continuation of patient care in full compliance with corporate and operating governance.

It is not just the elite education of young athletes, gymnasts and dancers, which should prompt questions about child protection; it is also the education of talented young musicians. During March, The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester, England responded to the College's past and current teachers being accused of sexual misconduct and assaults by proposing that one to one tuition may have to stop. It has emerged that the trial of Michael Brewer, a former director of music at Chetham's School, resulted in another former teacher, Malcolm Layfield being identified as having committed similar crimes. Although warnings about Malcolm Layfield's behaviour prior to his appointment as the head of strings at the RNCM were considered by the College's Board prior to his appointment being ratified, Greater Manchester Police investigated the allegations and informed the College that they would not be pursuing any action against him. Sadly, one of Michael Brewer's victims did not live to see him found guilty of five counts of indecent assault, or his ex-wife of indecent assault. Frances Andrade disclosed to her family that her experience of giving evidence – and being called “a liar” and “ a fantasist” – was too much for her to bear and she took her own life.

It has taken just seven decades of exploitation and a ten-year struggle for justice for Ireland and the Catholic Church to acknowledge their roles in enslaving thousands of women in the Magdalene laundries. There was significant state involvement in how the laundries were operated insofar as they gave lucrative contracts to the laundries and around 2,500 women were sent there by the state. The pain-filled and hard work of the Justice for the Magdalenes group has played a significant part in this belated acknowledgement. Cardinal Keith O’Brien's resignation is a reminder that vestments do not erase individual responsibility. It has emerged that his forcefield of loathing of same sex unions obscured his own behaviour. Priests who were dependent on the former Cardinal have recently spoken out, and once again, the Catholic Church has been found wanting. “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” is a compelling documentary film by Alex Gibney concerning the abuse of sacred trust. It is an expose of the sexual assaults of four former pupils at St John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee by Fr Laurence Murphy, as well as the sexual assaults of Fr Tony Walsh and Fr Marcial Maciel. Pope Francis I cannot ignore the pursuit of sexual gratification by priests or the institutional negligence, which has rendered it possible to damage so many, lives for so long.

We are grateful that Hilary Brown is exploring the use of “monitoring” in safeguarding, and that she has allowed us to trail some of her ideas in this editorial. All attentive researchers know that monitoring involves the periodic review and documentation of activities that are intended to meet defined ends. However, in adult safeguarding the verb is in danger of becoming meaningless. It is rather like the claim that we are “trying” to complete a task since it implies that we are striving but what is to be delivered is not known. Hilary suggests that where safeguarding concerns prevail, and where once there might have been reassurance that these should be monitored, a phased and graduated approach is clear, i.e.

Phase             Task

– Support       Provide encouragement and access to any necessary resources

– Inform          Inform person of minimum standard of care and/or of agreed best practice

– Challenge     Challenge where these standards are not being met

– Adapt          Negotiate around difficult areas or short cuts

– Agree          Agree any reasonable compromise

– Insist           Be clear that you expect these standards to be adhered to, insist on attendance at appointments, for example, and follow-up on any slippage

– Intervene     Take action under the MCA of MHA or within regulatory framework

Finally, as highlighted in the brief paper in the first issue of the year (15.1), if you have not registered on the Local Government Association's Knowledge Hub, which promotes conversations and networks, we recommend that you do so. There is some very helpful material about adult safeguarding and community safety for example. Register for the Hub via this link: https://knowledgehub.local.gov.uk

In this issue of the journal we are pleased to bring you a number of interesting and thought-provoking papers, including two international contributions. The first paper, by Fiona Sherwood-Johnson examines the experience of service users in relation to being subject to the provisions of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007. The paper explores how work within adult support and protection can act to either enhance or diminish the service user's strengths, skills and self-esteem. Using a participatory research approach, whereby a number of people who access support were involved in the research team, the study used dramatic and other creative techniques to explore issues relating to support and protection with over 40 people who accessed support. The study found that the ways in which work within adult support and protection is undertaken could strengthen or diminish the person's strengths and sense of self. One of the outcomes of the study was the production of some useful recommendations for practitioners working in this area.

The second paper, by Susan Rabold and colleagues reports the results of a German study concerning the extent of and risk factors for elder abuse and neglect of older people living in community settings by home care (nursing) staff. The research consisted of a self-report survey of home care staff and obtained a satisfactory response rate, which is always of concern when undertaking such surveys. Under half of respondents (40 per cent) reported that they had been involved in at least one incident of abuse or neglect in the last year, with psychological abuse/verbal aggression and neglect reported most frequently. The paper discusses the findings of the survey, particularly in relation to potential risk factors involved and highlights the finding that abuse and neglect do not just occur in institutional settings or by partners and/or family members. It also explores possible approaches to prevention that might be developed.

The third contribution in this issue is a paper by Cheryl Tilse and colleagues, which explores financial abuse within residential care settings within an Australian context. The paper draws on findings from a study of the issues of asset management and financial abuse within aged care facilities in Australia, with a particular focus on the final phase of the study. This involved a survey and interviews undertaken with care managers and financial managers of such facilities and examined individual's recognition, understanding and possible responses to such abuse. The paper discusses the findings from this phase of the study and explores potential for development in relation to good practice in this area.

The final full paper in this issue also concerns the area of financial abuse and is linked to the paper by Gilhooly and colleagues, which appeared in the last issue of the journal (15.2). Gilbert and colleagues, Authors were also involved in the broader study of financial, health and social care staff's perceptions and potential actions in relation to elder financial abuse. This paper reports on an analysis of the policy documentation that was obtained as part of the study and develops recommendations relating to future work in this area.

Finally, we are pleased to include a brief paper by Catherine Heard and colleagues at the Law Commission concerning a current work-stream that the Commission is undertaking about Hate Crime. The Commission are exploring whether existing laws in relation to Hate Crime should be extended or not. The paper outlines the work that the Commission have planned in this area, which will be taking place until 2014. This includes a consultation period relating to potential proposals, during 2013. Hopefully as many readers as possible will be interested in this potential development and will be able to engage in the consultation process. We hope that the Law Commission team will be able to report on the outcome of the consultation process in a future issue of the journal.

Enjoy the reading and material for reflection that this issue provides and do get in touch with the editors if you have any feedback or ideas and suggestions about future issues of the journal.

Bridget Penhale and Margaret Flynn

Related articles