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Welcome from our Chair - Ian Cardwell

I am pleased to present the Annual Report of the Cheshire West & Chester Safeguarding Adults Board for 2022/23.

The Board is a statutory requirement of the Care Act 2014, is made up of a range of statutory and non-statutory Board partners, bringing together a wide range of agencies and community groups.

As I seem to have reported in every Annual Report over recent years, the Board and its partners have faced unprecedented demands on their services. Whilst the shadow of the COVID pandemic may have receded somewhat, other challenges have arisen which have had a disproportionate impact on those members of our community who need care and support and find themselves at risk of neglect or abuse. These challenges, amongst others, include the ongoing ‘cost of living’ crisis, the increasing stress placed on the health & care systems, and the increasing demands placed on all services due to the recruitment and retention of staff.

It is a testament to the commitment and professionalism of the professionals, volunteers, and carers, across Cheshire West, that the Board and partners have continued to deliver high quality support to adult service users.

A particular responsibility of the Board throughout the year is to ensure that, whilst all partners face significant resource challenges, safeguarding adult services deliver ‘business as usual’ to those in need of care and support and continue to champion safeguarding across the wider community, including the Boards contribution to National Safeguarding Week.

The Board has continued to carry out is scrutiny and governance functions, seeking assurance from partners that their organisation is delivering its services effectively and challenging partners to ensure they are making an impact on the lives of those who use our services. The Board is continually focused of ensuring that partners apply the principles of ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’, ensuring that service delivery is person centred and the service user is at the heart of decision making throughout.

The Board has focused on other key areas of safeguarding adults, particularly raising awareness, so that safeguarding risks can be identified and addressed. This work has included reaching out to our communities, so that the risks facing adults at risk is understood right across the community. There is more work to do here, and the Board will continue to focus on this important area of business.

As part of that ‘awareness raising’ commitment, as well as the development of good governance, the Board utilised the knowledge and experience of our own in-house expertise – particularly our Service User Group - to develop a streamlined, easy-read, version of key documents, including our Annual Report.

This Report will look in detail at what has been achieved more widely over the last 12 months and, importantly, what improvements are needed. We will examine the data we have collected and analysed it to understand trends and tackle the safeguarding challenges we face. Additionally, we will report on the work we have done to review cases where needed to improve service delivery, particularly Safeguarding Adult Reviews.

At the conclusion of this Report, we will briefly look ahead. We will set out our revised 3-year Strategic Priorities for 2023/25 as well our Business Plan focused on the coming 12 months.

Finally, I should like to thank all members of the Board, particularly the Chairs of the sub-Groups, for their continued professionalism and commitment and the Safeguarding Unit for their hard work and support throughout 2022/23.

Ian Cardwell - Independent Chair