The first priority is to ensure the safety and protection of Adult at Risk. In making the person (and others potentially at risk) safe, if a crime has been committed it must be reported to the police or if the person is injured it may be necessary to seek emergency services. If medical treatment is not immediately required, medical examinations should be arranged where appropriate.
The use of Independent Care Act Advocate – Section 68 - Care Act 2014
The Local authority must arrange an independent advocate to facilitate the involvement of a person in their assessment, in the preparation of their care and support plan and in the review of their care plan, as well as in safeguarding enquiries and SARs if two conditions are met.
That if an independent advocate were not provided then the person would have:-
(1) Substantial difficulty in being fully involved in these processes and second,
(2) There is no appropriate individual available to support and represent the person’s wishes, who is not paid or
professionally engaged in providing care or treatment to the person or their carer.
The role of the independent advocate is to support and represent the person and to facilitate their involvement in the key processes and interactions with the local authority and other organisations as required for the safeguarding enquiry or SAR.
The nature of safeguarding concerns is likely to mean that adults who would ordinarily be able to engage in assessments may struggle to engage with safeguarding due to distress, embarrassment, fear etc. It is essential that assumptions are not made about adults who previously had little difficulty in engaging with assessments when receiving and responding to a safeguarding concern.
This Duty to involve an advocate applies in all settings including people living in the community; this duty does not include prisons.
Other factors to consider
Did the adult require support from family/friend to engage with assessment for services etc?
- Does the alleged source of harm have a close relationship with the adult or is the alleged source of harm the person who would have assisted with assessments?
- Will the section 42 Enquiry involve contact with agencies the adult has not previously had contact with (police, courts, etc)?
- Would the family/friends supporting the person be likely to encourage very risk adverse solutions
In all of these (and potentially other examples) an advocate should be offered to the adult, including information about the role of the advocate in the safeguarding process.
Some individuals will already have appointed advocates involved in supporting them, where this applies you must ensure that the advocate is informed and involved wherever this is applicable, in order for them to provide the wishes and views of the Adult at Risk throughout this process.