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Banned from working in social care: a secondary analysis of staff characteristics and reasons for their referrals to the POVA list in England and Wales

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Since July 2004, employers of social care staff working with vulnerable adults in England and Wales have been legally required to refer workers or volunteers dismissed for misconduct because they have harmed vulnerable adults or placed them at risk of harm to the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) list. The POVA list is unique to England and Wales, and is a powerful tool of quality assurance for the care sector and for the safeguarding of vulnerable adults. This article reports on part of a multi-method study including quantitative and qualitative elements to produce a rounded picture of the factors involved in decisions to place staff members on the POVA list. Based on secondary data analysis of all records of POVA referrals from August 2004 to November 2006 (5294 records) as well as a detailed sample of 298 referrals, this article focuses on the prevalence of different types of alleged harm and their association with various staff, employer and service-users’ characteristics. The most common form of alleged abuse was physical abuse (33%), while the least was sexual abuse (6%). Some of the other key findings are the over-representation of men referred (31% compared to an average of 15% in the workforce) and significantly different types of abuse in care home and domiciliary settings, where financial abuse was less likely in care homes [odds ratio (OR) 0.17; P < 0.001], while physical abuse more likely in the same setting (OR 3.60; P < 0.001).

Keywords: elder abuse; gender issues; social care workforce; statistical analysis; vulnerable adults

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2009


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