Safeguarding Adults Part 1: Policy

Introduction

This policy sets out a multi-disciplinary framework in accordance with the Department of Health publication “No Secrets: Guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse” (March 2000). This guidance builds on the Government’s respect for human rights and results from its firm intention to close a significant gap in the delivery of those rights alongside the coming into force of the Human Rights Act 1998.

In addition, we now have ‘Safeguarding Adults’ published by the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) in October 2005. This introduces 11 standards for all authorities and partner agencies to aspire to in terms of best practice. It also changes some of the language, hence the new policy title of ‘Safeguarding Adults’. Whilst we are getting used to the new language you may still see reference to Adult Protection. Safeguarding Adults and Adult Protection may be taken to describe the same process. In time, we will only use ‘Safeguarding Adults’.

  • This policy describes how organisations should respond if abuse is identified or disclosed.
  • All agencies must take account of the fact that abuse of vulnerable adults does occur. It is essential that the response to all allegations must be in line with this policy and guidance.
  • This policy was reviewed in August 2006 and will be reviewed again in August 2008. Matters of fact will be updated as changes occur e.g. the title of an organisation or a change in law.
  • It will be published on the Adult Protection part of Devon County Council’s and Torbay Care Trust’s website and will be continuously updated.
  • The multi agency safeguarding adults from abuse policy is coordinated by Adult and Community Services in Devon and the Care Trust in Torbay.

Diversity And Equality

All policies, along with the practice guidance, have to be accessible to all members of the community.

An equalities impact assessment will be carried out on the revised Safeguarding Adults Policy, and we will seek feedback from as wide a source of people as possible prior to the policy and guidance being finalised.

Feedback can be given at any time to the Safeguarding Adults Coordinator in your area, and care will be taken to incorporate necessary changes when the policy is next reviewed.

1. Policy Framework

1.1 Context

The Department of Health and Home Office issued the publication “No Secrets: Guidance on developing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse” in March 2000.

This policy document adheres to the content of “No Secrets” and is working towards achieving the 11 standards set out in the ADSS document ‘Safeguarding Adults’

1.2 Aims

  • To provide a framework for statutory agencies and those in the private and voluntary sectors to work together preventatively and in partnership in order to improve and modernise the quality of service delivery to vulnerable adults, their carers and local communities. (See “No Secrets” – Section 1.3)
  • To provide guidance to local agencies who have a responsibility to investigate and take action when a vulnerable adult is believed to be suffering abuse. (See “No Secrets” – Section 1.5)
  • The primary aim for all agencies shall be to prevent abuse. Where preventative strategies fail, agencies should ensure that robust procedures are in place for dealing with incidents of abuse. (See “No Secrets” – Section 1.2 and Health and Local Authority Circulars HSC 2000/07: LAC [2000] 7, and ‘Safeguarding Adults, ADSS October 2006

1.3 Objectives

  • To work in a preventative manner to protect vulnerable adults from being abused.
  • To respond sensitively and coherently to reported incidents of self-neglect and abuse in a consistent manner, in accordance with this policy.
  • To co-ordinate action and services in order to best protect and assist vulnerable adults.
  • To ensure the safety of vulnerable adults by integrating strategies, policies and services relevant to abuse within the framework of all relevant legislation.
  • To ensure that adults identified as vulnerable have a right to confidentiality. In so far as it is consistent with this right, all agencies should seek to share information to ensure the safety and well being of those individuals.

1.4 Standards: ‘Safeguarding Adults’ (ADSS October 2005)

These are good practice standards. The authors of ‘Safeguarding Adults’ believe the implementation of these standards in every local area will lead to the development of consistent, high quality adult protection work across the country.

They will be used locally to form the basis of an annual audit for each partner organisation and will form the core of the Safeguarding Board’s business plan.

Standard 1

Each local authority has established a multi agency Board to lead ‘Safeguarding Adults’ work

Standard 2

Accountability for and ownership of ‘Safeguarding Adults’ work is recognised by each partner organisation’s executive body.

Standard 3

The ‘Safeguarding Adults’ policy includes a clear statement of every person’s right to live a life free from abuse and neglect, and this message is actively promoted to the public by the Local Strategic Partnership, the ‘Safeguarding Adults Board, and its member organisations.

Standard 4

Each partner agency has a clear, well publicised policy of Zero Tolerance of abuse within the organisation.

Standard 5

The ‘Safeguarding Adults’ Board oversees a multi agency workforce development/training sub-group. The Board has a workforce development/training strategy and ensures that it is appropriately resourced.

Standard 6

All citizens can access information about how to gain safety from abuse and violence, including information about the local ‘Safeguarding Adults’ procedures.

Standard 7

There is a local multi agency ‘Safeguarding Adults’ policy and procedure describing the framework for responding to all adults ‘who is or may be eligible for community care services’ and who may be at risk of abuse or neglect.

Standard 8

Each partner agency has a set of internal guidelines, consistent with the local multi agency ‘Safeguarding Adults’ policy and procedures, which set out the responsibilities of all workers to operate within it.

Standard 9

The multi agency ‘Safeguarding Adults’ procedures detail the following stages: Alert, Referral, Decision, Safeguarding assessment strategy, Safeguarding assessment, Safeguarding plan, Review, Recording and Monitoring.

Standard 10

The safeguarding procedures are accessible to all adults covered by the policy.

Standard 11

The Board explicitly includes service users as key partners in all aspects of the work. This includes building service user participation into it’s: membership, monitoring,

development and implementation of its work; training strategy and planning and implementation of their individual safeguarding assessment and plans.

‘Safeguarding Adults: A National Framework of Standards for good practice and outcomes in adult protection work, can be found on the Adult Protection website. (www.devon.gov.uk/adult-prot)

2. Defining Who is at Risk

2.1 What is the Definition of a “Vulnerable Adult”?

(Also refer to “No Secrets” – Section 2)

This policy relates to adults of 18 years of age or over. Children under the age of 18 years are protected by the Children Act 1989. A person is a “child” until they reach 18 years of age or until they get married.

The broad definition of a “vulnerable adult” is taken from “No Secrets” – Section 2.3 and ‘Safeguarding Adults’, page 5.

A vulnerable adult is a person “who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness, and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation”. (See “No Secrets” – Section 2.3.)

In addition ‘Safeguarding Adults’ emphasises the public duty of all agencies to protect the human rights of all citizens in terms of helping people access mainstream services such as the police. It also emphasises that safeguarding work is the responsibility of all agencies and must be effectively linked to other measures such as those for domestic violence which are overseen by the Community Safety Partnership.

The term “community care services” includes all social and health care services provided in any setting or context. (See “No Secrets” – Section 2.4.)

The term “harm” should be taken to include not only ill treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment that are not physical), but also the impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in, physical or mental health. It should also be taken to include the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. (See “No Secrets” – Section 2.18.)

2.2 What Constitutes Abuse?

Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. (See “No Secrets” – Section 2.5.)

Abuse can consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal, or psychological. It may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented or cannot consent.

Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it. (See “No Secrets” – Section 2.6.)

3. The Categories of Abuse

(Also refer to “No Secrets” – Section 2.7)

3.1 The following definitions are covered by this policy:

Physical abuse, including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication or inappropriate sanctions or restraint.

Sexual abuse, including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented, could not consent or was pressured into consenting.

Psychological abuse, including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation or blaming.

Financial or material abuse, including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Neglect and acts of omission, including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care, or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

Discriminatory abuse. This abuse is motivated by discriminatory and oppressive attitudes towards race, gender, cultural background, religion, physical and/or sensory impairment, sexual orientation and age. Discriminatory abuse manifests itself as physical abuse/assault, sexual abuse/assault, financial abuse/theft and the like, neglect and psychological abuse/harassment, including verbal abuse.

Institutional abuse, neglect and poor professional practice. This may take the form of isolated incidents of poor or unsatisfactory professional practice at one end of the spectrum, through to pervasive ill treatment or gross misconduct at the other. (See “No Secrets” – Sections 6.22 to 6.37.)

Any or all of these types of abuse may be perpetrated as the result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance.

3.2 Incidents of abuse may be multiple, either to one person in a continuing relationship or service context, or to more than one person at a time. This makes it important to look beyond the single incident or breach of standards to underlying dynamics and patterns of harm. Some instances of abuse will constitute a criminal offence. In this respect, vulnerable adults are entitled to the protection of the law in the same way as any other member of the public. When complaints about alleged abuse suggest that a criminal offence may have been committed, it is imperative that reference should be made to the Police as a matter of urgency. Criminal investigation by the Police takes priority over all other lines of enquiry.

4. Risks Arising from Self-Neglect or a Person’s Own Behaviour or Lifestyle

4.1 A vulnerable adult will be considered under this procedure where they are unable to provide adequate care for themselves and one or more of the following situations apply:

  • They are unable to obtain necessary care to meet their needs.
  • They are unable to make reasonable or informed decisions because of their state of mental health or because they have a learning disability or an acquired brain injury
  • They are unable to protect themselves adequately against potential exploitation or abuse.
  • They have refused essential services without which their health and safety needs cannot be met.

4.2 Often, the cases which give rise to the most concern are those where a vulnerable adult refuses help and services and is seen to be at grave risk as a result. If an agency is satisfied that the vulnerable adult has the capacity to make an informed decision, then that person has the right to refuse services.

4.3 In these circumstances, agencies must discuss their concerns at a Safeguarding case conference convened under this procedure where information can be shared with the vulnerable adult. Exclusion of the vulnerable adult from this process is to be the exception, and then only with good reason.

4.4 Where the vulnerable adult continues to refuse all assistance, this decision, together with any reasons, should be fully recorded and maintained on the person’s file, with a full record of the efforts and actions taken by the agencies to assist the vulnerable adult.

4.5 Appropriate communication should be forwarded to the vulnerable adult concerned setting out what services were offered and why and the fact of the person’s refusal to accept them. This needs to make clear that the person can contact the relevant agency at any time in the future for services. In cases of high risk, consideration should be given to arrangements for monitoring the case to ensure that circumstances do not deteriorate to an unacceptable degree.

5. Who Can be the Abuser?

5.1 Vulnerable adults can be abused by anybody.

5.2 Agencies not only have a responsibility to all vulnerable adults who have been abused but may also have responsibilities in relation to some perpetrators of abuse. The roles, powers and duties of the various agencies in relation to the perpetrator will vary depending on who the latter is. (See “No Secrets” – Section 2.12.)

6. In What Circumstances Can Abuse Occur?

6.1 Abuse can take place in any context. (See “No Secrets” – Section 2.14.)

6.2 What degree of abuse justifies intervention Building on the concept of ‘significant harm’ introduced in the Children Act 1989, the Law Commission suggested that:

“’Harm’ should be taken to include not only ill treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment which are not physical), but also the impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in physical or mental health; and the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development’.” (See “No Secrets” – Section 2.18.)

6.3 The seriousness or extent of abuse is often not clear when anxiety is first expressed. It is important, therefore, when considering the appropriateness of intervention, to approach reports of incidents or allegations with an open mind. In assessing seriousness, the following factors need to be considered:

  • The vulnerability of the individual.
  • The nature and extent of the abuse.
  • The length of time it has been occurring.
  • The impact on the individual.
  • and
  • The risk of repeated or increasingly serious acts involving this or other vulnerable adults. (See “No Secrets” – Section 2.19.)

7. Confidentiality and Information Sharing

General

7.1 Vulnerable adult enquiries, investigations and conferences can only be successful if professional staff share and exchange all relevant information. That information must be treated as confidential at all times and staff will be bound by the ethical and statutory codes that cover confidentiality and data protection.

7.2 Disclosure of confidential personal information without the consent of the person providing it may take place under circumstances, which must be capable of justification. Problems around the disclosure of information can be avoided if the consent of the individual is obtained, preferably in writing, so long as they have mental capacity.

7.3 Disclosure may be necessary in the public interest where a failure to disclose information may expose another to risk of death or serious harm.

7.4 All those providing information should take care to distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion. It is important that, should any information exchange be challenged in respect of a breach of confidentiality or, for example, as a breach of the Human Rights Act, the information can be supported by evidence.

7.5 Concerns may arise within an agency as information comes to light about a person with whom the service is already in contact. Whilst professionals should seek in general to discuss any concerns with the individual and their carers and seek agreement to share the knowledge with other relevant agencies, this should not be done where such discussion and agreement-seeking will jeopardise the safety of the individual.

7.6 Information must be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which it is held and must be held no longer than is necessary for that purpose.

7.7 Each agency is responsible for maintaining their own records on work with vulnerable adult protection cases. The agency should have a policy stating the purpose and format for keeping the records and for their destruction.

7.8 Protocols for Inter-Agency Information Sharing

7.9 The Devon wide protocol seeks to set out the proper level and line of communication to be adhered to when any partner agency (NHS Trust, CQC, Police, and Social Services) seeks to obtain from another agency confidential information concerning clients and records.

7.10 The protocols will adhere to the principles within:

  • The Data Protection Act.
  • Human Rights Act.
  • Existing protocols for Social Services and NHS Trusts and third party disclosure to the Police.
  • Police disclosure to Social Services.
  • Disclosure by the Police in care proceedings, civil proceedings and matrimonial proceedings.
  • Disclosure of videos/statements.
  • Caldicott Guardianship Rules.
  • Freedom of Information Act

Further guidance can be found in the legal framework

8. Recording Information

8.1 It is essential that clear and accurate records be kept of all contacts and actions relating to cases of abuse. The records may need to be used to hold individuals/agencies to legal account and therefore should be complete.

8.2 It is important that no record breaches the person’s individual legal rights.

8.3 All records should be accurate and factual.

8.4 Each agency should take account of the requirements for the annual policy and service audit (see “No Secrets” – Sections 3.18 and 3.19) and ensure that the information recorded for individual cases can be aggregated and reported on.

9. Unlawful Acts

9.1 Unlawful acts can be either a criminal or civil offence. Some instances of abuse will constitute a criminal offence or an unlawful act under civil law. In this respect, vulnerable adults are entitled to the protection of the law in the same way as any other member of the public. Examples of actions which may constitute criminal offences are assaults (whether physical, psychological or sexual) sexual relations without consent, harassment, threats, theft and fraud.

9.2 It is therefore essential that Police involvement should be considered as soon as any allegation or suspicion of abuse is made where there is an indication that a criminal offence has taken or is likely to take place. In these circumstances, no further investigation should be undertaken without consultation with the Police.

9.3 Criminal offences are dealt with by the State – the Police investigate and make the initial decisions whether or not to prosecute. The Crown Prosecution Service then receives the papers from the Police in order to progress the case. The Crown Prosecution Service has to apply two tests – whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction, and if so, whether it is in the public interest to proceed. If it does proceed then the case may be heard in the Magistrates Court or, if it is more serious, in the Crown Court. The Court decides on sentence.

9.4 The Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have a number of policies and standards relating to the prosecution of offences, and some of these have some bearing on the prosecution of offences to vulnerable adults.

9.5 Alleged criminal offences differ from all other non-criminal forms of abuse in that the responsibility for initiating action rests with the State in the form of the Police and Crown Prosecution Services (private prosecutions are possible, but rare). When complaints about alleged abuse suggest that a criminal offence may have been committed, it is important that reference is made to the Police as a matter of urgency.

9.6 The Police will advise on the necessary further action, level of urgency and the process for undertaking any subsequent investigation.

9.7 Where the Police conclude that there is no requirement for a formal criminal investigation, the local operational procedures should continue to be followed.

10. Safeguarding Adults Process

Alert
Reporting concerns of abuse or neglect which are received or noticed within a partner organisation. Any immediate protection needs are addressed. Adult & Community Services complete SS29 Alert form.

Referral
Placing information about that concern into a multi-agency context by logging a referral with Care Direct at ‘My Devon’.

Decision
Deciding whether the ‘Safeguarding Adults’ procedures are appropriate to address the concern.

Safeguarding strategy meeting
Formulating a multi-agency plan for assessing the risk and addressing any immediate protection needs. This will include co-ordinating the collection of information about abuse or neglect that has occurred or might occur. It will decide if an investigation is needed and if so, who will be responsible.

Safeguarding conference
This would usually follow the safeguarding strategy meeting. The adult concerned must be invited and enabled to attend. The Safeguarding Plan will be formulated here using the information gathered.

Safeguarding plan
Co-ordinating a multi-agency response to the risk of abuse that has been identified in order to protect the individual or individuals at risk.

Review
The review of that plan.

Recording and monitoring
Recording and monitoring the ‘Safeguarding Adults’ process and its outcomes. Adult and Community Services complete SS30 outcomes form.

11. Roles and responsibilities

11.1 Introduction

The multi-agency policy identifies distinct roles in the protection of adults. It is recommended that all agencies and service providers consistently refer to these roles within their own local/internal operational procedures with the following titles:

  • Alerters.
  • Investigators
  • Responsible Manager for Safeguarding Adults
  • Lead Officer for Safeguarding Adults
  • Safeguarding Adults Board

Non-statutory services such as residential care homes, supported living providers and domiciliary care agencies need to identify a named individual for Alerter’s to report to. This is most likely to be the registered manager in a registered service, but can be a senior member of staff who has been given the Safeguarding Adults role. Non-statutory services do not need to identify Investigators or Lead Officers for Safeguarding Adults. The named individual is responsible for reporting all actual and suspected incidents of abuse to one of the statutory agencies.

11.2 Alerters

Anybody could see abuse taking place, be told about abuse or suspect abuse is occurring. The Alerter’s duty is to report this.

Alerters can be anybody – health workers, nurses, domiciliary care staff, social workers, college staff, housing workers, day centre staff, residential and nursing home staff (at any level of seniority), carers or any member of the public.

The Alerter must record their general concerns plus any action taken and pass this to their named Manager for future reference.

The vulnerable adult should be informed of the intention to report this information, where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

12. Responsible Manager

The term ‘Responsible Manager’ refers to the manager of the team where the referral is received. That person has overall responsibility for ensuring that the correct procedures are followed according to the multi agency policy and practice guidance.

12.1 Responsible Managers are nominated senior staff from the statutory lead agencies

12.2 The Responsible Managers are responsible for ensuring an initial risk assessment is undertaken to identify the level and urgency of risk and response.

12.3 They must ensure immediate action to co-ordinate an appropriate response. This may include convening and chairing a Strategy Meeting, either in person, by phone or e-mail, or a multi-agency Safeguarding Adults Case Conference.

12.4 Situations may arise where identified risk is low or concerns fall short of an allegation or disclosure. Many of these situations may be resolved between the vulnerable adult and the staff member concerned, with support from the Responsible Manager. Assistance may be required from another agency without escalation to formal safeguarding adult procedures. If further action is required following emergency intervention, or a specific incident or general concern is reported, the Responsible Manager must determine what further action should be taken by their own or another agency. That agency may be required to take further immediate action to ensure the individual is no longer vulnerable or that the risks have been reduced, for example, an emergency placement.

12.5 Where the Responsible Manager is contacted or already represents the most appropriate agency, it is their responsibility to ensure that an initial risk assessment is undertaken to identify the seriousness or extent of the abuse.

12.6 The lead agency Responsible Manager must then use their agency’s risk assessment to determine whether there is any indication that a criminal offence may have been committed. If this is the case, the Police should be contacted immediately. In addition, the Responsible Manager must determine the level of urgency for the convening/co- coordinating of either:

  • A Safeguarding Strategy Meeting (within a maximum of five working days) or
  • A Safeguarding Case Conference.

12.7 A record must be kept of all contacts and action taken, including telephone conversations.

13. Investigators

13.1 We are not all investigators, only those identified to do so as a result of a multi-agency Strategy Meeting or Safeguarding Adults Case Conference meeting should undertake investigations.

Ideally, the person identified as the investigator for a particular case should have undertaken the 3 or 4 day specialist training. Their tasks will include collecting and verifying information from files, other agencies, relatives, staff and so on. It may involve interviewing the vulnerable adult, possibly with the police, and other relevant people.

They will produce a comprehensive factual report which in most cases will include a risk assessment and some recommendations for action.

14. Lead Officer for Safeguarding Adults

14.1 This is a role that all statutory agencies should identify. The Lead Officer is responsible for ensuring their agency has an up to date Safeguarding Adults policy that is accessible to all staff. It should identify the key roles and at what level they are held within the organisation. The Lead Officer should ensure that training is available at different levels for relevant staff. They should complete the annual audit and participate fully in the Safeguarding Adult’s Board. They should produce an annual report for their management board.

15. The Role of the Safeguarding Adults Board

15.1 Multi-agency Adult Protection Committees have been established within Local Authority boundaries. This policy refers to three areas, Devon, Torbay and Plymouth. These Adult Protection Committees will form the basis of the new Safeguarding Adults Boards.

15.2 The Safeguarding Adults Board/Adult Protection Committee is the key structure for overseeing the planning, implementation and monitoring of ‘Safeguarding Adults’.

15.3 It should include representation from all the appropriate statutory agencies.

15.4 The Safeguarding Adults Board/APC should manage the serious case review process.

15.5 The Safeguarding Adults Board/APC should complete an annual review and produce an annual report.

15.6 The Board/Committee should undertake an annual audit to monitor and evaluate whether the policies, procedures and practice for the protection of vulnerable adults are working in a consistent manner. For this purpose, agencies must work together.

15.7 The audit process must provide feedback to all relevant agencies.

15.8 In determining the content of the audit process, the Board/Committee must incorporate the following core elements:

  • To evaluate community understanding – the extent to which there is an awareness of the policy and procedures for protecting vulnerable adults.
  • Establish links with other systems for protecting those at risk – for example, child protection, domestic violence, victim support and community safety.
  • To evaluate how agencies are working together and how far the policies continue to be appropriate.
  • Review the appropriateness of local operational guidance, particularly in light of reported cases of abuse.
  • Review training available to staff of all agencies.
  • The performance and quality of services for the protection of vulnerable adults
  • The conduct of investigations in individuals’ cases.
  • The development of services to respond to the needs of adults who have been abused.
  • The implementation of the national monitoring system.

The audit must ensure that the 11 standards from ‘Safeguarding Adults’ are included.

15.9 Outcome measures will be developed by both commissioners and providers of services to monitor and evaluate service provision.

16. The Role of the Safeguarding Strategy Meeting

The safeguarding strategy meeting is a professional’s planning meeting. Those invited to attend have a responsibility to produce reports for the meeting if they are unable to attend so that a decision can be reached regarding the next step. It is important that this decision is based on all pertinent information available.

The outcome may be: (a) more information still needs to be gathered (b) an investigation needs to be undertaken or (c) a safeguarding case conference needs to be called or (d) no further action required under Adult Protection/Safeguarding Adult’s procedures.

Detailed guidance on safeguarding strategy meetings can be found in the Practice Guidance.

17. The Role of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Conference

A safeguarding case conference is a multi agency meeting, usually planned as an outcome from a safeguarding strategy meeting. The purpose of a case conference is to agree on a course of action and to ensure the agreed plan is monitored and reviewed.

Unlike the strategy meeting, the vulnerable adult must be invited and enabled to attend if they so wish. The outcome of a case conference is likely to be.

  • Further investigation by a named agency or agencies
  • Implementation of the action plan
  • Agreement about monitoring arrangements
  • Agreement about each agency’s responsibilities
  • No further action and case closed to Safeguarding Adults

Detailed guidance about safeguarding case conferences can be found in the Practice Guidance.

18. Safeguarding Action Plan Review

18.1 A review of the safeguarding action plan should take place within a maximum of six months from the initial safeguarding strategy meeting/discussion and will be arranged and co-ordinated by the Responsible Manager from the lead agency.

18.2 The review outcome is likely to be one of the following:

  • To agree upon a revised or amended adult protection/safeguarding plan.
  • To agree reporting/monitoring and reviewing arrangements.
  • To identify any weaknesses within the process and recommend where improvements can be made.
  • To identify any strategic policy issues.
  • A decision that no further action is required under these procedures.

Detailed guidance about safeguarding review meetings can be found in the Practice Guidance.

19. Agencies’ Roles and Responsibilities

19.1 Lead Agency Responsibilities

This is set out in detail in Standard 2 of Safeguarding Adults ‘Partner Organisations’ (ADSS October 2005). The key tasks are to identify Responsible Managers and a Lead Officer for Safeguarding Adults. These people have responsibility for ensuring their staff have the knowledge and skills to implement the Safeguarding Adults/Adult Protection process, and proper support and supervision for this work.

19.2 General Responsibilities of Statutory Agencies

  • Rigorous recruitment practices in relation to both employing staff and in the selection of volunteers.
  • Supervision and monitoring of staff working with vulnerable adults.
  • Internal guidelines for all staff relating to this multi-agency policy that set out the responsibilities of all staff within which they must operate.
  • Adult protection awareness and procedure training for all staff and volunteers. This will include all roles within the procedures.
  • Keep clear and accurate records.
  • Undertake risk assessments.
  • Share information on a need-to-know basis when it is in the best interest of the vulnerable adult.
  • Participate in the joint working arrangements as defined in this policy and in’ Safeguarding Adults’.
  • Implement preventative and /or supportive action to vulnerable adults.
  • Contribute to investigations acknowledging the requirements of confidentiality and data protection.
  • Attend the Safeguarding Adults Board/Adult Protection Committee meetings.
  • Provide an annual report to their own management Board and to the Safeguarding Adult’ Board.

19.3 In addition, Adult & Community Services, Devon and   Torbay Care Trust will:

  • Co-ordinate the Safeguarding Adults Policy.
  • On an annual basis, collate and report to the Safeguarding Adults Board/Adult Protection Committee all information monitored under this policy.

19.4 In addition, the Police will:

  • Pursue criminal proceedings when appropriate.
  • Provide information to vulnerable adults to help them protect themselves.
  • Protect people in vulnerable situations.

19.5 All appropriate professionals in Health will:

  • Undertake evidential investigations or medical examinations, provided the person has given consent.

19.6 The Care Quality Commission will:

  • Ensure inspection reports are available on their website www.CQC.org.uk
  • Inform Social Services when information is received that one or more service users may be or are at risk of abuse or neglect within registered establishments or their own homes.
  • Work jointly with Social Services or Health where residents require a response under these procedures.
  • Attend Strategy Meetings and Case Conferences in respect of regulated services.
  • Keep other agencies informed of any relevant enforcement action taken by the Commission on any regulated service.
  • Where a potential breach of Regulation(s) has occurred, undertake appropriate inspection activity.
  • Pursue statutory action where appropriate.
  • A Code of Practice has been developed between the Commission and Social Services which is currently being updated (August 2006).

19.7 Independent Providers of Domiciliary, Day Care, Residential Care, Nursing Care and Hospital Care will:

  • Establish procedures for the protection of vulnerable adults in line with those outlined in the appropriate Care Standards Act Regulations and National Minimum Standards.
  • Report incidents of abuse to the appropriate Commission for Social Care Inspection (CQC) Office and to Adult & Community Services in Devon or Torbay Care Trust.
  • Provide information and assistance to investigating officers.
  • Participate in the joint working arrangements as defined in this procedure.
  • Every effort will be made to include the care provider at every stage of the process, except where this may compromise the investigation or the ability of statutory agencies to share information.

19.8 Other Groups and Providers (for example, Supported Living providers, Luncheon Clubs) will:

  • Report incidents of actual/suspected abuse or self-neglect to Social Services and where appropriate to the Police.
  • Participate in the joint working arrangements as defined in this procedure when requested.