1. Context

The main objective of safeguarding adult procedures is to provide guidance to enable adults to be kept safe from abuse or neglect and immediate action to be taken where required in order to achieve this.

The procedures are a framework for managing safeguarding interventions that are reasonable and proportionate, whilst utilising established, strong multi-agency partnerships that provide timely and effective prevention of and responses to abuse and neglect. They are a means for staff to combine principles of protection and prevention with individuals’ self-determination, respecting their views, wishes and preferences in accordance with Making Safeguarding Personal agenda (see Making Safeguarding Personal). The key focus is on using professional skills to gain a real understanding of what the adult wants to achieve and what action is required to help them achieve it.

Trafford’s safeguarding adults procedures have been structured within a six stage process. This Introduction provides context within which the procedures operate.

2. Feedback to Referrers

All adult safeguarding concerns referred to the local authority should be assessed to decide if the criteria for a statutory adult safeguarding enquiry are met. Acknowledgement with the referrer who raised the concern is an essential requirement under these policies and procedures. Feedback provides assurance that action has been taken whether under safeguarding adult procedures or otherwise.

Agencies raising concerns may want to challenge or discuss decisions and need to be updated on what action has been taken. It is more likely that the general public will continue to raise independent concerns, where there is an acknowledgement that their concern has reached the right agency and is being taken seriously. Feedback to the public needs to take account of confidentiality and requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 (see Information Sharing and Confidentiality).

3. Feedback to People Alleged to have Caused Harm

The person / agency that is alleged to be responsible for abuse or neglect should be provided with sufficient information to enable them to understand what it is that they are alleged to have done and to allow their view to be heard and considered. Whilst the safety of the adult remains paramount the right of reply should be offered where it is safe to do so.

Decision making about giving feedback to people alleged to have caused harm should take into consideration:

  • the possibility that the referral may be malicious;
  • the right to challenge and natural justice;
  • whether there are underlying issues for example employment disputes;
  • family conflict;
  • relationship dynamics;
  • whether it is safe to disclose particularly where a victim of domestic abuse could be at risk;
  • compliance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (see Mental Capacity).

The principles of natural justice must be applied and feedback should be provided in a way that is consistent with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018. If the matter is subject to police involvement, the police should always be consulted so criminal investigations are not compromised.

4. Dealing with Repeat Allegations

All concerns / referrals should be considered on their own merit. An adult who makes repeated allegations that have been subject to safeguarding enquiries and decided to be unfounded should be treated without prejudice.

Where there are patterns of similar concerns being raised by the same adult within a short time period, a risk assessment and risk management plan should be developed and a process agreed for responding to further concerns of the same nature from the same adult.

All organisations are responsible for recording and noting where there are such situations and may be asked to contribute to a multi-agency response.

Information sharing to assess and analyse data is essential to ensure that adults are safeguarded and an appropriate response is made. Staff should also be mindful of public interest issues. The following factors should be considered when considering how to respond to repeat allegations:

  • the safety of the adult who the concern is about;
  • the mental capacity of the adult and the ability of the support networks of the individual to raise the concern;
  • increase in support to meet outcomes of safeguarding concerns;
  • wishes of the adult involved and impact of the concern on them;
  • impact on important relationships;
  • levels of risk (see Managing Risk).