Case Studies


Ribble Valley Homes (RVB) provides social housing in the Ribble Valley area and is part of the largest registered social landlord known as the Symphony Housing Group and are based solely in the North West.

It was set up in March 2008 specifically to take transfer of The Ribble Valley Borough Council’s housing stock, and with a stock of less than 1200 tenants, Ribble Valley Homes are keen to retain autonomy and local identity. The provision of sheltered accommodation makes the assessment of vulnerable people essential.

Ribble Valley Homes provides support and advice to customers and tenants, some of whom are identified as vulnerable through robust needs assessment.

Their customers include older people, people with a physical or learning disability, people with mental health problems and carers.  In addition RVB where possible will support its tenants to live independently with active provision of aids and adaptations.

The Challenge

Athena’s initial challenge was to review RVB’s recent Safeguarding Inspection by the ‘Supporting People Partnership’, providing guidance, advice and real solutions to areas identified in the inspection requiring improvement.

RVB’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures, risk assessments and training programme had not been reviewed for a number of years and needed updating.

Staff awareness of safeguarding needed to be prioritised and RVB wanted to embed safer practices and safer culture through new codes of conduct, and training. They wanted to include safeguarding as part of their supervision process and develop ways of joint working with local agencies.

Athena was asked to provide new safeguarding reporting form and risk assessment form which would capture a wider range of vulnerabilities in their tenants.

RVB wanted to raise the awareness of tenants about its safeguarding duties and to improve communication with those tenants who have suffered abuse.

RVB wanted Athena to design and deliver training that was bespoke, real and focused on safer cultures using interactive exercises to ensure the training would be ‘creative’ and fun and the learning permanent.

The Athena Solution

Athena believes in working with RVB based on a partnership approach. This included thorough preparation and review which was essential to ensure that the work done met the objectives identified in the RVB Safeguarding action Plan.

We designed a new Safeguarding Concerns Reporting form and a robust Risk assessment matrix for the identification of real and potential risks/vulnerabilities of all RVB tenants.

We advised on ways of embedding safer practices into the RVB’s supervision structure and on opportunities for joint working with both the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Athena provided essential areas for inclusion in RVB’s code of conduct and advised how safeguarding could be introduced into the well established ‘Tenant Involvement’ programme.

We designed a training programme that included a variety of learning approaches which were participative, inclusive and interactive. There were opportunities for discussion, individual and group activities, critical reflection. The format also included a solution focused approach for outcome focused planning and delivered in a creative manner.

Using Athena’s wealth of training resources, we designed a bespoke trainer’s script detailing the needed training resources, materials, training exercises or activities, learning outcomes and timings.  An accompanying ‘power point’ presentation was designed with detailed trainer’s notes for guidance.

The programme was designed and included the most recent Serious Case Reviews around vulnerable adult abuse to demonstrate findings and lessons learned.

The handouts prepared were clear and concise and recapped the main themes of the programme. They also included links which directed participants to internet or intranet support.

The Outcome

An up to date Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy and Procedures has been created with an updated ‘code of practice’ which clearly details acceptable boundaries and activities for RVB staff.

RVB have mandatory inclusion of ‘safeguarding’ in both supervision and team meetings.

An up-to-date, interactive and fun training course was created that fitted the requirements of RVB. The work was completed in an organised, friendly and timely way and resulted in the development of confidence and awareness levels for the RVB workers.

The use of real life case studies and investigations brought reality and credibility to the training programme to demonstrate that the staff at RVB are in key positions to identify vulnerable adult abuse.

Christine Grimshaw, Managing Director said, “I approached the Athena programme following a safeguarding inspection, at the point I contacted I really didn’t know where to start with the action plan I had been given, however after a couple of hours with Sarah and her team I had a clear way forward that was tailored to my budget. This included training for all staff which was delivered in an interesting and sensitive manner by Lisa. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Sarah and her team”