Who has Lead Responsibility for Safeguarding?
Everyone has a responsibility to ensure that a concern about the alleged abuse of ‘adults at risk’ is addressed and risks are discussed at the earliest possible time with adult.
The Care Act 2014 places the lead responsibility for managing adult safeguarding within the ‘Local Authority’ working with the police who will lead on any criminal concerns relating to an adult at risk.
In addition the ‘Act’ places a ‘duty to co-operate’ on the Safeguarding Adults Board members and requires other organisations to work in partnership with the Board.
All concerns must be shared in a timely manner with the local adult Safeguarding contact point, ideally following a conversation with the adult about the concerns to establish:
- Their views about the concern and whether or not they feel unsafe or at risk?
- What they would like to happen (their outcomes) and who might help them achieve them
- What actions, if any, are needed to improve their safety immediately or in the short term
- Whether any other adults or children are at risk
A conversation should not be held with the adult if:
- Having the conversation would place them at greater risk, it is not possible to talk to them away from the alleged source of harm
- They require specialist support to communicate (e.g Sign language, Translator, picture board etc)
- They lack the mental capacity to understand the risks OR understand the safeguarding journey (a specific mental capacity should be completed as soon as possible )
The timescales to meet the agreed outcomes should be realistic, if criminal enquiries are taking place then it may be a number of months before a case is heard in court, if a disciplinary is taking place this may take several weeks etc.
It is essential that someone accepts the responsibility to keep the adult updated about what is happening and make sure that the adult is still in agreement with the originally agreed outcomes and negotiates any changes to the plan.
We can agree with the adult to leave the process at:
At all exit points we need to ask the adult if:
- We have met the outcomes agreed with them?
- The risks have been reduced, removed or remain?
- Whether they feel safer as a result of the safeguarding intervention or not?
If there is a risk to other adults, we may have to confirm that we will be completing a section 42 enquiry without their consent to keep other adults safe. It is good practice to keep the adult updated, providing doing so would not compromise the safety of other adults.