This chapter covers the purpose of the planning discussion or meeting, who should attend or be involeved, roles and responsibilities of individuals and member agencies, possible outcomes and the recording and sharing of information.
The allocated enquiry lead will ensure that a multi-agency strategy discussion is held or planning meeting is convened within three working days, unless there are specific documented reasons as to why it cannot be held within that time period. This decision must be made by a senior social worker and / or team manager and recorded in the body of the safeguarding episode.
If a planning discussion is held, it may still be necessary to hold a follow up planning meeting. More than one planning meeting or discussion may be required during the course of a safeguarding episode this is dependent on the urgency and complexity of the situation. The rationale for holding more than one strategy meeting should be clearly documented on the Planning Record Form (see Local Forms, Letters, Leaflets).
Where immediate action is needed to protect the adult, the information should be passed to the organisation that is in the best position to carry out the action as quickly as possible. Agreement should be reached on what action they will take, including reporting back to the requesting enquiry lead.
Information shared at the planning stage is strictly confidential. The information should not be shared for any purpose other than the protection and care of the adult/s concerned.
The planning meeting is required to obtain the full facts as far as practicably possible and to determine what action/s need to be taken thereafter. The adult and / or their representative must be offered an invitation to contribute to all planning discussions and planning meetings and their views recorded. Planning meetings do not have to take place in the office base and ought to be undertaken at a venue of the person’s choice (where appropriate), for example their own home. It is essential to remember the sensitive nature of safeguarding activity and matters of confidentiality when deciding on the most appropriate venue for detailed discussion. If the adult chooses not to attend a planning meeting, they must be kept informed throughout the safeguarding activity.
The adult concerned must be asked what outcomes they wish to achieve as a result of any safeguarding activity. It is important that their outcomes are the primary focus of any intervention in accordance with the Making Safeguarding Personal ethos (see Making Safeguarding Personal). A person’s outcomes may change throughout the Safeguarding process, it is essential to ensure that this is documented and regularly reviewed.
It is the responsibility of the local authority enquiry Lead to facilitate the involvement of the adult at all stages of the safeguarding process and to offer ongoing support throughout.
2. Purpose of the Planning Discussion or Meeting
The purpose of the planning discussion or meeting is to:
- consider the wishes of the adult (or their representative);
- consider if there are immediate risks to other people or if additional safeguarding concerns need to be raised for other adults with care and support needs;
- agree who will be the enquiry lead, who will contribute to the enquiry. Does a planning meeting need to take place?
- agree a multi-agency approach to make enquiries into the allegations and assess the risk to the adult and address any immediate needs;
- coordinate the collation of information relating to the abuse or neglect;
- review risk assessment and protection plans to ensure the safety of the adult, alleged perpetrator, and any other relevant persons;
- make a clear record of the decisions;
- record what information is shared;
- agree an enquiry strategy with timescales;
- agree a communication strategy;
- consider whether a child (under 18 years) may be at risk;
- circulate decisions to all invitees within five days using the planning record document;
- consider if there is a need to notify responsible departments/persons within their organisation of potential media interest.
The planning discussion or meeting must take place before any formal enquiry. The commencement of a police investigation is an exception to this when vital evidence gathering is required. No organisation, with the exception of Greater Manchester Police, must begin an investigation prior to a decision by the multi-agency planning meeting or discussion.
3. Who should attend a Planning Meeting?
Attendance at the planning meeting should be limited to those who need to know and who can contribute to the decision making process; this includes the adult and / or their representative (family member / friend / advocate).
In embedding the principle of making ‘no decision about me without me’ into adult safeguarding practice, primary consideration must be given to how the adult will be involved and how to facilitate their attendance / contribution to any planning discussion and / or meeting.
Where an adult has a Court appointed deputy or they have nominated someone to have a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare (and these people are not implicated in the investigation) then they should be consulted and / or provided with an opportunity to attend the planning meeting.
Where the adult has died, and there is a clear belief that other identifiable adults are experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect, an enquiry is needed. The deceased adult’s nominated representative or nearest relative should be considered to attend a planning meeting. Consideration will be given to the appropriateness for them to attend any planning meetings or receive feedback in circumstances where they choose not to attend.
Staff of any organisation who may have a role in making enquiries following an allegation of abuse or neglect or in the assessment of the risk to the adult, or for taking action in relation to the person causing the harm, should be requested to attend the planning meeting. They should be of sufficient seniority to make decisions within the meeting concerning the organisation’s role and the resources they may contribute to the agreed safeguarding protection plan.
Any organisation requested to attend a planning meeting must regard the request as a priority. If no one from the organisation is able to attend, they must provide a written report (see Report to inform an Adult Safeguarding Enquiry template form in Related Documents below) as requested and ensure it is available for the meeting. Where relevant the Commissioning representative should be invited.
In cases where a crime has been reported and is being investigated by police all subsequent action by other organisations must be coordinated with them.
The Police Officer in Charge (OIC) of the investigation should be invited to any planning meeting. If the OIC is unavailable to attend, a planning discussion should take place on the telephone and the outcome noted on the GMP Crime Recording Information System as applicable.
The police investigation could take some time and other organisations could have duties which require action. Agreement must be reached at the planning phase, either in a planning discussion or meeting between the police and other involved organisations about what actions they can take and when.
Any operational manager who experiences difficulty in obtaining a police response to a referral or to an informal request for advice or who has any other concerns regarding a safeguarding adults enquiry should refer their concerns to the Adults Service, Heads of Service at Trafford Council or Interim Safeguarding Adults Designated Lead, NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group to pursue through strategic multi-agency partnerships (see Local Contacts).
4. Supporting the Adult
Action taken to support the adult can include:
- to clarify the key issues of risk faced by the adult;
- to decide who will interview and record the account of the adult;
- to decide who will ensure the adult is involved in the process to the maximum of their willingness and ability, and how this will be achieved;
- to decide who will support the adult throughout the safeguarding activity and ensure that their needs for support and protection are met;
- to clarify the mental capacity of the adult to make decisions about their own safety. Arrange for an assessment by the most appropriate person, if required;
- if the person does not have mental capacity, decide how they will be supported to be involved as much as they are able, who is a suitable person to act in the person’s best interests and whether an IMCA or Independent Advocate should be instructed (see Independent Mental Capacity Advocate Service and Independent Advocacy);
- to identify if the person needs advice, support, assistance or services under community care legislation;
- to identify any communication needs of the adult;
- to identify any equality issues that need to be addressed;
- to identify who will keep the adult informed throughout the safeguarding process;
- where the adult has capacity, ensure their wishes are respected as to sharing of information with relatives and/or carers (unless there is a duty to override their decision).
5. Supporting the Person Allegedly Causing Harm
Decide who will interview the person allegedly causing harm and / or give them information about the allegations (and when this should happen). Where a criminal offence has not occurred this will usually be the enquiry lead or a senior member of the organisation that has been appointed to make further enquiries.
If the person allegedly causing harm is a member of staff or a volunteer, confirm that the relevant regulatory authority has been informed. It is important to preserve the confidentiality at all times of all concerned including staff members under the Safeguarding Adults information-sharing protocols.
The primary concern must be the safety of the adult, but the person allegedly causing harm has a right to have information about any accusations and the process that will be followed.
Decisions about notifying the person allegedly causing harm need to be made at the planning phase, weighing up potential repercussions or further risk of harm.
If the person allegedly causing harm is also an adult at risk of or experiencing abuse or neglect, a decision must be made about how their needs are to be met during the enquiry. For example, if they lack capacity, they will also need someone who can represent them, possibly an IMCA or Independent Advocate.
Throughout the adult safeguarding process, people, services or agencies alleged to have caused harm must be treated and spoken of without prejudice.
Cases where the person alleged to have caused harm is a family member, friend or carer, need to be treated with particular sensitivity. For example, work may need to be done to make sure the person alleged to have caused harm understands what abuse is. A carer may also need a carer’s assessment.
Safeguarding Adult Planning Record
Account Record- Non-Professional