The Unintentional Injury Sub-Group (UI Sub-Group) was launched in January 2017 and is ongoing. The purpose of the group is to provide Home Safety equipment and education, as information and advice are the most effective way to increasing safety practice and reducing unintentional injuries in and around the home.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) in South Lanarkshire chairs the UI Sub-Group. The partnership group consists of senior representatives from the following organisations: Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (Chair), Police Scotland, South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) Social Work Resources, SLC Housing and Technical Resources, Care and Repair South Lanarkshire, NHS Lanarkshire, SLC Education, SLC Seniors Together, Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire, Scottish Ambulance Service and Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. The representatives who sit on the group have the capacity to make decisions at meetings on behalf of their organisation.
South Lanarkshire’s Community Safety Partnership Strategic Needs Assessment (SNA) 2016/17 identified Unintentional Injuries (UI) as one of five key priorities for the partnership. The term ‘unintentional injury’ is preferred to ‘accidents’ as the latter implies that events are inevitable and unavoidable whereas a high proportion of these incidents are now regarded as being preventable. Unintentional injuries can occur in any age group, but children and the elderly are particularly more vulnerable to trips and falls. In order to ensure there is evidence towards demand reduction and collectively we are meeting strategic outcomes, there must be a robust method of recording performance. The group provides partners with the opportunity to contribute through attendance and accountability by means of action logs.
The aim of the UI Sub-Group is to provide a collaborative and coherent approach to keeping people safe, by coordinating and overseeing the development of the relevant actions as set out within the Community Safety Strategic Framework. This includes:
The group meets quarterly to ensure that meetings take place at regular intervals and follow a structured, agreed schedule. Prior to each meeting the agenda is agreed with all attendees to allow people to raise any topics they wish to discuss and have good notice of what to prepare for. The agenda and other associated papers and information are distributed 5 days in advance of the meeting.
Any agreed actions to emerge from meetings are added to an Action Log. This is used rather than a set of minutes so that any required actions are clear and concise. Mid-quarter updates are also requested via e-mail with progress on actions points expected in a timely manner. This is to include any items for inclusion at the next meeting.
The Community Safety Strategic Framework reporting template is used for the group as part of the Performance Management Framework to ensure consistency across Community Safety Partnership groups.
Success initially has come from the regular attendance of partners and the collective drive to achieve shared outcomes. Early indications are that the membership of the group has the potential to
change/evolve dependant on the objectives/outcomes set out in the Community Safety Strategic Framework.
Challenges include identifying appropriate and achievable outcomes and building capacity out-with the daily job role. Also there should be a conscious effort to avoid a ‘Talking shop’ scenario where nothing is achieved Hence the need of an Action Log to build in an accountability factor. An additional challenge is to establish a link between analysis and objective setting. A regular meeting venue along with dates and times has been agreed to ensure continuity.
The medium and long-term objective of the group is for sustainable reductions in unintentional injury in South Lanarkshire. Due to the group’s relative infancy, there is no current evidence towards reduction. However it is already being considered how the impact and changes being made by the group will be considered, with future analysis by the CSP analyst planned to help to monitor progress being achieved.
Key data analysis is essential in moving forward to assist identifying those most at risk and the targeting of resources.
Below are some examples of current work streams by the Unintentional Injury Sub-Group:
There are over 4000 Alert call-outs per year relating to falls, however Falls Referrals into the Falls Team do not mirror this statistic. The Chair of the UI Sub-group continues to engage with the Manager for the Community Alarm project, to address a joined-up approach to Alert Call-outs relating to falls to ensure the referral protocols are followed. It is anticipated that this will highlight the number of referrals submitted and determine whether a focus is required to be placed on the referral process for Alert staff.
Regularly Highlighting Best Practice Amongst UI Partners
Most recently the NHS Falls Team Community Nurse presented a case study to the UI Sub-group that highlighted the effective partnership working between SFRS and the Falls Team to minimise risk within the home. This case study explained how, following a falls referral from the fire service, follow- up intervention from the falls team, and subsequently other agencies, led to identifying additional vulnerabilities that ultimately put a service user’s life at immediate risk. Without the initial partnership referral this person would not otherwise have been identified in such a timely manner.
The group is in the process of establishing a series of Roadshow events in order to showcase the partnership aspect of Unintentional Injury and to provide resources and information on how people can keep themselves safe in and around the home. These will be a multi-agency events targeting safety for under 5’s and over 65’s.
To help take the work of the group forward, the UI Sub-group is looking to purchase Home Safety Equipment to carry out the installation of specific safety equipment for those residents at risk from unintentional injuries/harm in and around their homes. Funding will also support the design and purchase of promotional materials for the events. A logic Model will be drawn up to assist with future funding bids.
ROSPA height charts
Height charts have now been distributed to partners. An evaluation of this initiative within South Lanarkshire will be conducted after 6 months.
Prevention & Protection Manager SFRS
Strategy and Policy Officer (Strategy)
South Lanarkshire Council
Housing and Technical Resources