Consultation on the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) Code of Practice
The Government recently announced its consultation on the draft MCA Code of Practice. This is the biggest change to the framework around the MCA in some years. It presents a real opportunity for making comments about the use of the MCA with dependent drinkers. Indeed the draft Code of Practice has already slightly updated its input on alcohol with a case study example of the application of the Act to a dependent drinker.
The consultation runs until early July so there is time for people to develop robust responses.
The consultation is accessible at: Changes to the MCA Code of Practice and implementation of the LPS – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Alex Ruck Keene, a barrister who is expert in this area has put out this helpful video about the consultation. Alex Ruck Keene, ‘MCA Code/LPS implementation consultation – rapid reaction overview and walkthrough’ (MCLAP blog, 17/3/22) — This is a detailed summary of the MCA Code and LPS consultation, together with a 19-minute video walkthrough.
One of the themes that we talk about in the Blue Light project is the heightened risk of fire deaths among change resistant dependent drinkers. Smoking, cluttered homes and chaotic behaviour while intoxicated can all increase the risk of fire death. A few months back, I highlighted the Alan Safeguarding Adult Review from Sunderland which focused on the death of a homeless drinker who sadly died after dropping a cigarette on himself.
Earlier this year, the Scottish Adult Protection Coordinator published a report on safeguarding and fire deaths:
This contains some brief but useful commentary on the role of alcohol in fire deaths but also puts it into a wider context of steps that can be taken to manage such risk in the safeguarding context.
OHID Guidance – Substance misuse: providing remote and in-person interventions
The Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (formerly Public Health England) has published guidance which gives advice about how alcohol and drug treatment services can achieve a good balance between remote and in-person interventions for different service user groups.
This is equally important to work with Blue Light clients as it is to other substance users. It is important that this client group still has access to face-to-face interventions – but worth considering to what extent support can be provided over the phone (or less likely over the internet).
I have recently received the Report of the Safeguarding Adults Review regarding James from Brighton and Hove SAB (2021). This is about a man who is primarily a drug user, but it opens up a repeated theme in SARs – the issue of cognitive impairment in substance misusers. James has an acquired brain injury and is at risk of exploitation by others.
It considers whether professionals and agencies demonstrated sufficient understanding and awareness in relation to James’ acquired brain injury and what impact, if any, his brain injury, cognitive ability, mental health, and substance misuse had on interventions and decision-making?
It makes the point that is at the heart of the Blue Light project: There were many attempts to encourage James to access (substance misuse) services however these were mainly unsuccessful. The assumption made by practitioners was that this reflected an ambivalence by James to addressing his drug use. It was felt that ‘someone has to want change to be able to achieve that change’ (the “Cycle of Change”) and there were many occasions when James had stated he did not want to change his drug habit. This may be a valid perspective however another interpretation, when considering James’ (brain injury), could be that whilst he was able to make the decision to cease his drug use, he lacked executive capacity to follow through on that decision.
The challenge for commissioners of substance misuse services is to consider how to enable existing services to be developed to meet the needs of people with ABI who also have substance misuse problems.
Wize Up, part of national charity Change Grow Live, has secured a new contract to continue to provide drug and alcohol support to young people aged 10 -18 in Havering. This means that the services it provides are now integrated with the adult drug and alcohol support service, Aspire Havering, also part of Change Grow Live. They work one to one with young people to help make positive changes to their life.
Call 07884 996 917 or find more information online.
A support group for parents starts in April. Call Sam on 07884 996 917 for more information or to book a space.
Thrive LDN and partners are helping support displaced Ukrainians and Afghans in London with free webinars and resources for professionals and volunteers.
This training has a central focus on trauma-informed practice, which can be used to develop practice across a range of services:
Thrive has also produced a guide to help families create a safe environment for Ukrainians arriving here along with a range of updated resources to support the wellbeing of the Afghan community. There is also a short video on engaging with refugees and asylum seekers, and guidance for supporting Ukrainians and for supporting the Afghan community
The national Modern Slavery end of year summary has been published for 2021:
12,727 potential victims of modern slavery were referred to the Home Office in 2021, representing a 20% increase compared to the preceding year
77% were male and 23% were female
43% were children
For adult potential victims, labour exploitation was most reported (33%), whereas child potential victims were most often referred for criminal exploitation (49%)
The most common nationalities referred were UK, Albanian and Vietnamese
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Data
The MPS have created a data tool to allow each borough to see a breakdown of modern slavery offences in their area, along with detailed information on wards, victim and suspect profiles, forms of exploitation and exploitative industries.
The MPS data can be found here , up to date as of the end of March 2022. Navigate the tabs and filter for tailored information on each borough or basic command unit.
The London SPOC Directory can be accessed below. The Directory is for use by statutory and voluntary organisations working in London to identify victims of modern slavery and support survivors. The primary goal of the directory is to support collaboration between local authorities and other agencies.
Havering SPOCs are currently Lurleen Trumpet, Diane Egan, Lorraine Bartlett and Eve McGrath
Homes for Ukraine
Whilst the generosity of the British public in opening their homes to Ukrainians is positive, anti-slavery organisations are concerned that without the right checks on hosts, vulnerable individuals could be put at risk of exploitation. The Human Trafficking Foundation has worked together to collate resources that could be useful for Ukrainians to know their rights, the risks of modern slavery and who to contact if they have concerns. A list of these resources can be found here
From January 2022, the LeDeR programme has been extended to cover autistic adults.
Please see the information slides for more details: LeDeR Programme Autistic Adults
Healthwatch Havering, Redbridge and Barking & Dagenham are working together with colleagues from NHS North East London, BHRUT and NELFT to find out more about how local people are experiencing and affected by Long Covid.
Healthwatch are currently conducting a Survey about the effects of Long Covid. If you have had, or know of someone who has had Covid followed by some or any of the symptoms mentioned above for longer than 12 weeks, please complete an online survey.
Healthwatch are also looking for people to take part in interviews so that more details of their experiences can be gathered. Knowing more about Covid and in particular its long term effects, will be very important as we move from the pandemic to learning to live with Covid in the years to come.
The survey closes on 18 April
The Home Office has produced a policy paper outlining its plan to prevent domestic abuse in England and Wales. The paper sets out a number of aims, including prioritising prevention, supporting victims and pursuing perpetrators. Strategies that will be used to achieve these aims and safeguard child victims of domestic abuse, include: ensuring that children know about healthy relationships through the relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum; developing interventional measures to target risk factors associated with abuse; and ensuring that child victims have access to support to help them to manage the impact of abuse on their relationships and wellbeing.
Tackling domestic abuse plan
The Home Office has released new guidance for England and Wales to encourage a whole-system response to violence against women and girls (VAWG). Its ‘National statement of expectations’ sets out a number of improvements that need to be implemented, including: a wider network approach in order to protect child victims of violence by making links with child safeguarding structures; the introduction of specialist workers within children’s services to work with perpetrators posing a risk to children or displaying harmful behaviours. The Home Office has also published a ‘Commissioning toolkit’ which outlines guidance on commissioning local services to support women and girls who have experienced domestic abuse. Barriers to reporting violence and abuse impacted all child victims, but some additional barriers such as stereotypes around masculinity, were recorded for male victims when it came to seeking help.
The Home Office has released a document on supporting male victims of crimes commonly associated with violence against women and girls (VAWG) that supplements the plan to tackle domestic abuse. The document highlights the specific barriers and vulnerabilities both boys and men face when reporting and seeking support for sexual or domestic abuse, and the need for specialism in the support that services and organisations give
The charity Centrepoint has released a report on ending youth homelessness in the UK. The report focuses on the causes and impacts of youth homelessness on individuals, as well as its impact on wider society. Findings include: over the last five years, there has been a significant increase in the number of young people approaching local authorities for support; and one of the main causes of homelessness in England was due to relationship breakdowns leading to family no longer willing or able to accommodate young people (49%). Lack of support for those experiencing mental health issues was also noted as a cause of youth homelessness, with prevalence of poor mental health being significantly higher (88% of 90 participants taking part in the study) than the general population. Recommendations to reduce barriers for young people include ensuring that young people are able to access the levels of income needed through employment or social security systems and providing person-centred support through youth-focused support networks and organisations.
The Carers Trust has published a report on the mental health and wellbeing of young carers and young adult carers in the UK in 2022. Findings from a survey of 571 carers aged 12-25 include: 42% felt stressed by their caring role and 52% found that they ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ got adequate support from their place of education. Separately, the Children’s Commissioner for England has published a blog highlighting responses to the Big Ask survey from 6,000 children and young people aged 6-17 years old who were being supported by a young carers’ project, which found that 25% of young carers were unhappy with their mental health compared to 20% of all other children.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has created an animated video guide and leaflet to help improve understanding of the DBS checking process in England, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. The video and leaflet cover the different types of DBS check, how to apply, what type of information may be included on DBS certificate, what countries DBS covers and the DBS Barred Lists.