Adults at risk - raising a concern

max appleby made this Freedom of Information request to Camden Borough Council

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Dear Camden Borough Council,

Please would you give me the following information. I have tried to find out what to do when we have been concerned about someone and have rung Camden Housing Department who put us through to Community Safety who put us through to Adult Social Services Contact Camden. We also rang Camden Social Services direct .

What do we do when we are very concerned about a neighbour's frailty or mental health? We are not family or the carers but this person is part of the community for a long time.

When we telephone Camden we were told again and again that unless we had her permission we could not report any concerns- even if her capacity was impaired and her safety was at risk. They said because of Data Protection they could not accept any information about peoples worries. Even though we did not want to talk to anyone just give information so Camden could follow up.

Contact Camden Adult Social Services also said that they would not take any information that we had as we could not confirm a date of birth or full name and her GP. We explained we were neighbours. We told them she had workers before coming in and had been in hospital.They said to call the police if we had concerns which was inappropriate. The police had been to her home and already contacted Camden we think. She is not committing a crime she is vulnerable to strangers at her door and is obviously very very frightened and there is a risk to her when she is mentally unwell.She wont ask for help now

So we would like to know what we are meant to do. We were told to look at the Adult Protection webpage and it talks about safeguarding and tells you to ring the same number we rang who refused to take any information.

So please can you answer these questions and then I will share this page with people and they will know what to do.

(1) Do you tell the call centre at Contact Camden Adult Social Services and Housing that they cannot take information about concern for safety, wellbeing and risk from the community due to Data Protection? Even when the person is known to services and the informant doesnt want to have a case discussion.

(2)Do you tell these people that they cannot accept information without full demographic details like date of birth etc. (Were told on one occasion that they could not fill in their screen without this)

(3)Is there another number where concerned people can leave information anonymously or if they just have incomplete information about a neighbour?

(4) We rang 4 times in the end and were told each time they could not help. Is there a specific telephone number for people with mental health illness that we can ring and report concerns to ? Does this number work out of hours?

(5) I heard on the radio that there are MASH forums in some areas so that local intelligence can be shared and all professionals and police get together and discuss to see if they have concern and to be alert. Does Camden have one of these for vulnerable adults? If not where do we go and who do we tell when we are genuinely worried about someone? How do you gather the information?

We rang several times and insisted on leaving the name address and our concern but where did this information go to? If no one in Camden records and shares then our neighbour will deteriorate and no one will know until she is found in a very bad state or worse. This is very worrying as she is someone Camden know about already so we didnt think there would be such a problem just to leave a message with a service to check her out?

Can you give us this information urgently so we can act please

Yours faithfully,

max appleby

Dear Camden Borough Council,

Please give a contact person or emergency telephone number as we don't know who to call and there is a person who needs help before something very serious happens. Even if you cant answer this request yet.

It has been 10 days and you have not acknowledged at all.We have rung again and still could not get to speak to anyone in a department and no one in Camden knows who to contact and what to do and we don't know where else to try.

Yours faithfully,

max appleby

Philip Lewis, Camden Borough Council

1 Attachment

Camden Council - Information request (FOI/EIR) - Housing and adult social
care

Our reference: 8871909

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr. Appleby

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information request received on 2
October 2013

You requested information on:

Dear Camden Borough Council,

Please would you give me the following information. I have tried to find
out what to do when we have been concerned about someone and have rung
Camden Housing Department who put us through to Community Safety who put
us through to Adult Social Services Contact Camden. We also rang Camden
Social Services direct .

What do we do when we are very concerned about a neighbour's frailty or
mental health? We are not family or the carers but this person is part of
the community for a long time.

When we telephone Camden we were told again and again that unless we had
her permission we could not report any concerns- even if her capacity was
impaired and her safety was at risk. They said because of Data Protection
they could not accept any information about peoples worries. Even though
we did not want to talk to anyone just give information so Camden could
follow up.

Contact Camden Adult Social Services also said that they would not take
any information that we had as we could not confirm a date of birth or
full name and her GP. We explained we were neighbours. We told them she
had workers before coming in and had been in hospital.They said to call
the police if we had concerns which was inappropriate. The police had been
to her home and already contacted Camden we think. She is not committing a
crime she is vulnerable to strangers at her door and is obviously very
very frightened and there is a risk to her when she is mentally unwell.She
wont ask for help now

So we would like to know what we are meant to do. We were told to look at
the Adult Protection webpage and it talks about safeguarding and tells you
to ring the same number we rang who refused to take any information.

So please can you answer these questions and then I will share this page
with people and they will know what to do.

(1) Do you tell the call centre at Contact Camden Adult Social Services
and Housing that they cannot take information about concern for safety,
wellbeing and risk from the community due to Data Protection? Even when
the person is known to services and the informant doesnt want to have a
case discussion.

(2)Do you tell these people that they cannot accept information without
full demographic details like date of birth etc. (Were told on one
occasion that they could not fill in their screen without this)

(3)Is there another number where concerned people can leave information
anonymously or if they just have incomplete information about a neighbour?

(4) We rang 4 times in the end and were told each time they could not
help. Is there a specific telephone number for people with mental health
illness that we can ring and report concerns to ? Does this number work
out of hours?

(5) I heard on the radio that there are MASH forums in some areas so that
local intelligence can be shared and all professionals and police get
together and discuss to see if they have concern and to be alert. Does
Camden have one of these for vulnerable adults? If not where do we go and
who do we tell when we are genuinely worried about someone? How do you
gather the information?

We rang several times and insisted on leaving the name address and our
concern but where did this information go to? If no one in Camden records
and shares then our neighbour will deteriorate and no one will know until
she is found in a very bad state or worse. This is very worrying as she is
someone Camden know about already so we didnt think there would be such a
problem just to leave a message with a service to check her out?

Can you give us this information urgently so we can act please

Yours faithfully,

max appleby

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font
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For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
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If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me.
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Yours sincerely

Philip Lewis
Business Support Officer

Email: [email address]
Phone: 0207 974 3755

Lewis, Philip (BMS), Camden Borough Council

Dear Mr Appleby

 

I apologise for the omission of an acknowledgement to your request. You
should now have received this automatically this morning.

 

We forwarded your request to the relevant officer to deal with on 2^nd
October 2013 and as it is quite a complex request we have not yet received
a response.

 

To answer your email question below; the number to contact is 020 7974
4444 which is contactable 24 hours a day. You can also email
[1][email address] but this only manned between 9am and 5pm
Mon-Friday.

 

I hope this answers your question until the full response is available.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Philip Lewis
Business Support Officer

Telephone: 0207 974 3755

 

 

show quoted sections

Lewis, Philip (BMS), Camden Borough Council

Dear Mr Appleby

 

In addition to my previous email this morning, you might also find the
following link useful

 

[1]http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/con...

 

Yours sincerely

 

Philip Lewis
Business Support Officer

Telephone: 0207 974 3755

From: Lewis, Philip (BMS)
Sent: 09 October 2013 11:08
To: '[FOI #178932 email]'
Cc: HASC FOI and DPA Requests
Subject: FW: 0057 Appleby - FW: Freedom of Information request - Adults at
risk - raising a concern - Ref: 8871909
Importance: High

 

Dear Mr Appleby

 

I apologise for the omission of an acknowledgement to your request. You
should now have received this automatically this morning.

 

We forwarded your request to the relevant officer to deal with on 2^nd
October 2013 and as it is quite a complex request we have not yet received
a response.

 

To answer your email question below; the number to contact is 020 7974
4444 which is contactable 24 hours a day. You can also email
[2][email address] but this only manned between 9am and 5pm
Mon-Friday.

 

I hope this answers your question until the full response is available.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Philip Lewis
Business Support Officer

Telephone: 0207 974 3755

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Lewis,

We have telephoned that number in and out of hours and a direct number . They are the ones that told us they could not help at all or take details and prompted this request as we were told that this was the only way we could find out who to contact.

So that contact number and e mail are in fact useless when someone is in need of help and at risk. And this is for someone that we know Camden know about we just don't know what teams do what and neither do Camden it seems and your website doesnt explain.

I dont see why the HASC team you e mailed could not give a number until they were ready to answer the query in full (is HASC housing and social services? How can they be same team and not know what is happening).

It is very stressful and there should be a 'joined up' way of dealing with this even if it was an anonymous line. You have an anonymous line for benefit fraud but not for people reporting serious concerns when very vulnerable people need help. We don't understand your systems or whose job is whose we just think someone should help her.

Yours sincerely,

max appleby

T. Morgan left an annotation ()

You could try contacting your local ward cllrs- names and contact details at http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/mgMemberI... or cllr Pat Callaghan who is the cabinet member responsible for adult social care http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/mgUserInf... or contact the housing and adult social care (hasc) scrutiny committee about any concerns about services http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/mgCommitt.... I hope the lady gets the help she needs soon.

Take care

Dear T Morgan,

Thank you for that information.

It is not only us who have had a problem getting Camden to respond. The ambulance service were called by another neighbour and they called Camden. Camden said they were 'too busy' to go out to her although admitted they had been called to her before and knew

Yours sincerely,

max appleby

Philip Lewis, Camden Borough Council

1 Attachment

Camden Council - Information request (FOI/EIR) - Housing and adult social
care
Our reference: 8871909

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr. Appleby
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000
Further to your email, received on 2 October 2013, we are pleased to
enclose/append/attach the requested information.
You requested:

Adults at Risk

Please would you give me the following information. I have tried to find
out what to do when we have been concerned about someone and have rung
Camden Housing Department who put us through to Community Safety who put
us through to Adult Social Services Contact Camden. We also rang Camden
Social Services direct
What do we do when we are very concerned about a neighbour's frailty or
mental health? We are not family or the carers but this person is part of
the community for a long time.
When we telephone Camden we were told again and again that unless we had
her permission we could not report any concerns- even if her capacity was
impaired and her safety was at risk. They said because of Data Protection
they could not accept any information about peoples worries. Even though
we did not want to talk to anyone just give information so Camden could
follow up.
Contact Camden Adult Social Services also said that they would not take
any information that we had as we could not confirm a date of birth or
full name and her GP. We explained we were neighbours. We told them she
had workers before coming in and had been in hospital.They said to call
the police if we had concerns which was inappropriate. The police had been
to her home and already contacted Camden we think. She is not committing a
crime she is vulnerable to strangers at her door and is obviously very
very frightened and there is a risk to her when she is mentally unwell.She
wont ask for help now
So we would like to know what we are meant to do. We were told to look at
the Adult Protection webpage and it talks about safeguarding and tells you
to ring the same number we rang who refused to take any information.
So please can you answer these questions and then I will share this page
with people and they will know what to do.

(1) Do you tell the call centre at Contact Camden Adult Social Services
and Housing that they cannot take information about concern for safety,
wellbeing and risk from the community due to Data Protection? Even when
the person is known to services and the informant doesnt want to have a
case discussion.
(2) Do you tell these people that they cannot accept information without
full demographic details like date of birth etc. (Were told on one
occasion that they could not fill in their screen without this)
(3) Is there another number where concerned people can leave information
anonymously or if they just have incomplete information about a neighbour?
(4)  We rang 4 times in the end and were told each time they could not
help. Is there a specific telephone number for people with mental health
illness that we can ring and report concerns to ? Does this number work
out of hours?
(5) I heard on the radio that there are MASH forums in some areas so that
local intelligence can be shared and all professionals and police get
together and discuss to see if they have concern and to be alert. Does
Camden have one of these for vulnerable adults? If not where do we go and
who do we tell when we are genuinely worried about someone? How do you
gather the information?
We rang several times and insisted on leaving the name address and our
concern but where did this information go to? If no one in Camden records
and shares then our neighbour will deteriorate and no one will know until
she is found in a very bad state or worse. This is very worrying as she is
someone Camden know about already so we didnt think there would be such a
problem just to leave a message with a service to check her out?
Can you give us this information urgently so we can act please
 
1.    No, Contact Camden are not told that they cannot receive information
about concerns for safety, wellbeing and risk from the community due to
Data Protection?
Adult social services would normally expect someone to give consent or
permission to be referred, either for an assessment of their needs or to
investigate their safety and wellbeing.
However, failure to give consent does not automatically prevent a referral
being made, and the person taking the referral would need to assess the
potential risks and urgency before deciding whether to act in the absence
of consent.
I am ensuring that this information is clear to Contact Camden and they do
not continue to provide the inflexible response which the questioner
reports
2.    Contact Camden should be able to accept referrals without full
demographic details, although the more information is missing, the more
difficult it is to accurately identify the person being referred, to the
extent that it may not be possible to accurately identify them at all.
Certainly this last situation has occurred on more than one occasion, when
very vague details were provided, and despite considerable investigation,
the identity of the person could not be established.
3.    Contact Camden is the correct number to ring for all referrals to
adult social services. If a person insists on making an anonymous
referral, the person receiving the referral will again need to balance the
details of the referral (apparent risk and urgency) with the inherent
problems of responding to an anonymous call.
4.    The out-of-hours number for all emergencies is 7974 4444 and ask to
be put through to the emergency duty social worker.
The same issues would arise out of hours for anonymous referrals or for
referrals where the person concerned has not consented.
This number applies for people with physical disability and mental ill
health
5.    Camden does not currently have a MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding
Hub) for adults. At present there are very few adult ‘MASH’s’ in the
country.
Currently people should either contact the social services number (as
above) or one of the emergency services, depending on the type and urgency
of the need.
However as you have raised some important concerns about the failure to
take possibly urgent information about a person in need and possibly at
risk, Senior Service Manager Steve Chamberlain would be happy to have a
conversation with you about your concerns and enable you to pass them on
to the appropriate person.
We hope that the information is useful to you.
Please note the information is still covered by copyright legislation. You
are not authorised to re-use this information for commercial or research
purposes as defined by the Re-Use of Public Sector Regulations 2005. If
you do wish to re-use this information please contact the Information
Access Team, Legal Services/ Second Floor, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street,
London WC1H 9JE, who will assess your request. 
If you are unhappy with any aspect of the way in that your request has
been processed then you have the right to issue a complaint. If you wish
to issue a complaint, please set out in writing your grounds of appeal
(within 2 months of this correspondence) and send it to: Access to
Information Team, Legal Services, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, London,
WC1H 9LP and your complaint will be administered through our Internal
Review procedure.
 
If you are still not satisfied following the Internal Review, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office. They can be
contacted at: Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.
Telephone: 01625 545 700
[1]www.ico.gov.uk

 
Yours sincerely

Philip Lewis
Business Support Officer

Email: [email address]
Phone: 0207 974 3755

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.gov.uk/

Dear Philip Lewis,

Thank you for your reply.

However as it took a long time for a response we have also asked for help and advice from other agencies and advisers in Camden to guide us on this matter ( as you will see below).We are not experienced enough to understand the how your systems work or don't work.

We think there is a major problem in the training of your staff at Contact Camden as this happened on several occasions.

No one we have spoken to believes that a call centre handler should decide whether someone is at risk or not . They are not trained professionals and they put lives at risk. So therefore Steve Chamberlain should instruct that ALL safeguarding and concerns about vulnerable people should be put through to a team of social workers ( who we now understand are called Duty Workers ?)to assess.Even the NHS 111 srvice does this so why doesn't Camden?

You should also get a telephone number for anonymous referrals with an answerphone as you do not seem to have any way of collecting local intelligence or joining up the dots. As pointed out before you have one for alleged benefit and council housing fraud. It would seem Camden thinks this is more important than peoples lives.

This case as it transpires is of someone who Camden is aware of, who we think was getting a support worker and we now know DEFINITLEY that housing, social services and the community safety team have been contacted about her in the last few weeks. She is someone who has fallen through the net yet it is obvious to all - including the local police and paramedics that she is very vulnerable and at risk.

The emergency services apparently said they contacted Camden mental health (?) and asked them for help but they didnt come out to assess or support. The police said that this was because they had no hospital beds so dont come out when there is no place to go - however it is unclear to us as members of the public who does what in these circumstances. Your response seems to indicate that it is Camden's responsibility and not the hospitals.As members of the public we do not have a clue who to call to be perfectly blunt.

With regard to calling the 999 emergency services we have done this as a last resort. It is totally inappropriate when someone is not committing a crime or threatening and needs humane support and some sort of professional assessment.Especially when they have recently been in hospital for the same reason.

The police and paramedics told us that they are often called because the mental health teams dont come out so they are left to assess someone's mental health when they are not trained to. Apparently they can not take someone to a hospital who is very mentally distressed if they dont want to go - unless a social worker (?) is involved. They all stated Camden always advises they are called instead of coming out themselves and when they know the police are at someone's home the social workers think that person is safe so dont then come at all. We simply dont know if this is true in all cases but it is what is happening here we think.

Since making this request we have rung around other organisations and groups and asked them what to do. In this case it is someone already known to Camden but probably someone who doesnt make a fuss, isn't violent so doesnt get help even though she is at risk of suicide and self neglect according to everyone who has had contact with her.

We and all others have certainly given enough information but as members of the public we are not going to know her telephone number or GP or DOB for eg. The full address should have been sufficient given it is a council property.Contact Camden made absolutely no effort to trace or refer this case as far as we can tell. They were obstructive.

It is a very sad and worrying case and doesnt seem to be the only example . Steve Chamberlain or people in his department will already have details and we can't add any more information than we and the emergency services already have.Plus as stated housing were also alerted several times. If you wont listen to th emergency services then you will not listen to members of the public.

It is very easy to hide behind confidentiality and data protection to avoid doing anything to help. We understand that you cant help everyone but you should at least try

Yours sincerely,

max appleby

Marion Affleck left an annotation ()

This worries me as you would think all a caller has to do is leave information with a call handler. I dont get the impression anyone has asked for information about this lady but just wanted to raise a concern. There isn't a Data Protection issue. With children you can leave information anonymously when you are concerned. Sounds like it has got very complicated and still she has no help?

I think you should consider again contacting the service manager or the department manager if there is still a problem. I am sure the police have better things to do than sit with someone who is very distressed. I also suggest you contact MIND's helpine as they are very good and may be able to explain why this is so complicated with so many agencies now involved. I certainly don't understand it. Very very sad and very very worrying