Safeguarding means protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It’s about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse and neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted, and where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.

These procedures should guide and inform the practice of all individuals within all organisations working in partnership to safeguard adults at risk. They may be supplemented with individual organisations’ local practice guidance and in conjunction with the organisation’s procedures relating to, for example, health and safety and disciplinary procedures.

These procedures should be applied in all situations where an adult has met the definition of an adult at risk:

  • A person who is 18 years old or over, and has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs).
  • Is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse and neglect.
  • As a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect

Where abuse or neglect is identified, it must be dealt with quickly, effectively and proportionately with emphasis on identifying and recording clear outcomes for the adult at risk, putting them at the heart of any assessment or service provision and taking into account individual wellbeing.

The Care Act 2014 implements key recommendations made by the Law Commission and puts adult safeguarding on a legal footing, 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
  • Set up a safeguarding adults board with core membership from the local authority, the police and the NHS (specifically the local Clinical Commissioning Group/s, now known as an Independent Care Board, or ICB) and the power to include other relevant bodies
  • Arrange, where appropriate, for an independent advocate to represent and support an adult who is the subject of a safeguarding enquiry or Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR) where the adult has ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved in the process where there is no other appropriate adult to help them
  • Cooperate with each of its relevant partners in order to protect adults experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect

Sunderland Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) became a statutory body in April 2015. The Board leads and holds to account partners for safeguarding adults in the city, in order to maximise positive safeguarding outcomes for those living in Sunderland. The Board also has responsibility for ensuring that these policies and procedures are developed, implemented, embedded and regularly reviewed.

In the event of any difficulties in using these procedures, you should contact your organisation’s Safeguarding Lead. Alternatively, you can contact the Safeguarding Adults Team.