Our National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice (NCPQSW) has been leading research into financial scamming to raise awareness, educate professionals and impact policy.

The NCPQSW is involved in a wide range of significant work, including research into a variety of areas, training of professionals in health and social care, and shaping legislation surrounding mental capacity and mental health. Since it was created in 1999, the NCPQSW has had over 20,000 professionals coming through the centre as students to gain further qualifications. It has also trained a third of all Best Interest Assessors, who decide whether to authorise a ‘deprivation of liberty’ for an individual without the mental capacity to make decisions about their own care, and a quarter of all Approved Mental Health Professionals, who are trained to implement elements of the Mental Health Act. 

Over the last four years, academics in the NCPQSW have been working with the National Trading Standards Scams Team, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), Age UK, Royal Mail, Which? and the Burdett Trust for Nursing to develop a better understanding of financial abuse from scams, raise awareness and inform social policy.

It is predominantly elderly people and those in the early stages of dementia who are affected by financial scamming. The NCPQSW was initially approached by the National Scams Team and the CTSI to help advise them about how to understand the particular vulnerabilities of citizens of who have a cognitive impairment such as dementia.

The findings have been shared at two House of Commons events and have resulted in a new book, titled Adult Safeguarding, Financial Scamming and Mental Capacity, written by the team. A copy of the book has been given to all trading standards departments and the chairs of every safeguarding board in England as national guidance.

Professor Keith Brown with Conor Burns MP

In 2017, NCPQSW academics were given a National Hero award by the CTSI in recognition of their work into financial scamming. Professor Keith Brown, Director of the NCPQSW, said: “Financial scamming and its impact is a growing problem. We are working with a range of different organisations on an ongoing campaign to get financial authorities and charities to take this more seriously.

“This work improves the quality of social care practice and informs the training that we provide to health and social care professionals. Through our work in partnership with multiple organisations, we make a vital contribution to society in general and vulnerable people in particular. By working closely with many local authorities in England, we have trained over 15,000 post-qualifying social workers which has had a huge impact on the national quality of care.”

The NCPQSW demonstrates Fusion in action through their research into financial scamming. The findings are used to educate professionals to help them better protect vulnerable people from such crimes. Rhe research is also impacting policy around financial scamming and ultimately having a real impact on the safety of vulnerable and marginalised people.