This chapter provides information for multi-agency practitioners about the local authority’s responsibility in relation to adult safeguarding.
RELEVANT SECTIONS AND CHAPTERS
1. Legislative Changes
The Care Act 2014 introduces new duties and requirements of local authorities in safeguarding adults. It provides, for the first time, a legislative framework for those working in adult safeguarding.
The Act does not allow certain functions to be delegated and safeguarding is one of those functions. Since the local authority must be one of the members of Safeguarding Adults Boards, and it must take the lead role in adult safeguarding, it may not delegate these statutory functions to another party.
The Care and Support Statutory Guidance, Department of Health and Social Care has either introduced or amended a number of powers and responsibilities for local authorities.
Chapter 14, the Care and Support Statutory Guidance replaces the previous multi-agency statutory guidance: No Secrets, 2000.
2. Local Authority Duties under the Care Act
From April 2015 the Care Act requires that each local authority must:
- make enquiries, or ensure others do so, if it believes an adult is subject to, or at risk of, abuse or neglect. An enquiry should establish whether any action needs to be taken to stop or prevent abuse or neglect, and if so, by whom. See also Safeguarding Enquiries;
- set up a Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) with core membership from the local authority, the police and the NHS (specifically the local clinical commissioning group/s) and the power to include other relevant bodies. See also Roles and Responsibilities of Trafford Strategic Safeguarding Partnership;
- arrange where appropriate for an independent advocate to represent and support an adult who is the subject of a safeguarding enquiry or safeguarding adults review (SAR) where the adult has substantial difficulty in being involved in the process and where there is no other suitable person to represent and support them (see Independent Advocacy);
- cooperate with each of their relevant partners; those partners must also cooperate with the local authority in the exercise of their functions relevant to care and support including those to protect adults.
Relevant partners of a local authority include any other local authority with whom they agree it would be appropriate to cooperate (for example neighbouring authorities with whom they provide joint shared services) and the following agencies or bodies who operate within the local authority’s area including:
- NHS England;
- clinical commissioning groups;
- NHS trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts;
- Department for Work and Pensions;
- prisons; and
- probation services.
Local authorities must also cooperate with such other agencies or bodies as it considers appropriate in the exercise of its adult safeguarding functions, including:
- general practitioners;
- NHS hospitals; and
- housing, health and care providers.
3. Abolition of the Local Authority’s power to Remove Persons in Need of Care
The Care Act repeals the current power for local authorities to remove people from their homes under section 47 of the National Assistance Act 1948.
4. Protecting Property of Adults being Cared for away from Home
The local authority has a duty to prevent or mitigate loss or damage to moveable property of adults who have been admitted to a hospital or to a residential care home, and are unable to protect it or deal with it themselves. This includes adults who have been moved to a place of safety as part of their safeguarding plan or those who are in hospital due to abuse or neglect. The protection of property applies to any tangible, physical moveable property belonging to the adult in question, including pets.