The Safeguarding Project

Author/s: Project led by Herculano Castro and project report by Teresa Oliveira
Keywords: Zero tolerance; Abuse; Safeguarding

In line with the Mentaur Group’s Zero tolerance towards any kind of abuse, we have launched a package of initiatives that reflect our commitment to ensure the safeguarding of those using our services. One of these initiatives is the Safeguarding Project.

The Safeguarding Project was developed between March and September 2011 as a supervised project carried out by Teresa Oliveira, a European Social Work intern who came to Mentaur through the Leonardo da Vinci programme.


For the project, Teresa used the Safeguarding Adults Competencies Framework developed by the Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Multiagency Group. This tool allowed an extensive assessment of Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults (SOVA) awareness and qualifications throughout Mentaur's workforce.

The research method used for collecting data was the application of semi-structured interviews. Interviews were carried out in each unit which allowed the direct observation of individual behaviours and daily routines.

Managers were also asked to assess their own staff based on their personal knowledge of them and through structured observation. Integrating direct observation and personal interviews through the project allowed us to cover gaps between what people say they do, or are likely to do, and their actions in practice.

Interview guides were produced at the beginning of the project, which described an expected answer for each question, taking into consideration relevant legislation and official documents regarding Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults. These interview guides were prepared in line with Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire safeguarding policies and were also used as an evaluation framework to assess if staff members fully met, or partly met each competence, or whether evidence was unavailable to ascertain this.

Individual interviews were carried out in all units and all managers carried out their own assessments separately, in relation to each staff member interviewed. This was later compared with the results from the interviews and led to a balanced assessment of result.

After all the data was collected and analysed, individual and group results were displayed and, where applicable, recommendations suggested and action plans implemented.

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