The Act sets out the local authority’s responsibility for protecting adults with care and support needs from abuse or neglect for the first time in primary legislation.
This is vital to ensure clear accountability, roles and responsibilities for helping and protecting adults with care and support needs who are experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect as a result of those needs. Local authorities are given a lead role in coordinating local safeguarding activity.
The draft guidance on adult safeguarding covers:
- the principles of safeguarding which should underpin all work to protect people from abuse and neglect
- types of abuse and neglect
- local authorities’ responsibilities to carry out safeguarding enquiries where it is suspected that someone is suffering or at risk of abuse or neglect
- creating Safeguarding Adults Boards (SABs) in every area to bring together the key local partners to focus on safeguarding strategy and practice
- conducting Safeguarding Adults Reviews where there is a cause for concern about a particular case, to learn lessons for the future
- sharing information between local and national organisations to support reviews and enquiries
- providing independent advocates to enable some people who would otherwise have difficulty to take part in an enquiry or review
The Care Act does not list every type of abuse and neglect. It explicitly refers to financial abuse, not because it has priority status but because most definitions of abuse do not ordinarily include this type of abuse. We want to leave no doubt that financial abuse comes within the scope of adult safeguarding planning and activity.
The guidance includes fuller descriptions of abuse and neglect. We do not expect this to be exhaustive but it does give the practitioner a helpful framework when looking at allegations of abuse or neglect.
Respond to question 65 below.
The guidance focuses on the function, roles and responsibilities of SABs, rather than concentrating on process issues such as how often the SAB meets, whether or not the Chair is independent from SAB members and how it constitutes itself, for example, whether it has sub-committees feeding in or time-limited task and finish groups. This allows maximum local flexibility within the statutory framework. SABs work within very different areas and will need to reflect this in their ways of working.
Respond to questions 66, 67 and 68 below.
The guidance concentrates on the positive learning aspects of Safeguarding Adults Reviews because these offer a real opportunity to improve practice if managed properly.
Respond to question 69 below.
The guidance recognises the tensions for professionals in the sharing of information and notes the revised Caldicott principles and the new Information Governance Alliance guidance.
Respond to question 70 below.