The Care Act (2014) puts adult safeguarding on a legal footing. Under The Care Act, an adult at risk is someone over 18 years old who:
- has care and support needs
- is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect
- as a result of their care and support needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.
The Care Act (2014) sets out the statutory requirement for local authorities, health, police and other agencies to both develop and assess the effectiveness of their local safeguarding arrangements. It sets out a clear legal framework for how local authorities and other parts of the health and care system should protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect. This is founded on the six key principles:
- Empowerment – people being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and give informed consent
I am asked what I want as the outcomes from the safeguarding process and these directly inform what happens.
- Prevention – it is better to take action before harm occurs
I receive clear and simple information about what abuse is, how to recognise the signs and what I can do to seek help.
- Proportionality – the least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
I am sure that the professionals will work in my interest, as I see them and they will only get involved as much as needed.
- Protection – support and representation for those in greatest need
I get help and support to report abuse and neglect. I get help so that I am able to take part in the safeguarding process to the extent to which I want.
- Partnership – local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.
I know that staff treat any personal and sensitive information in confidence, only sharing what is helpful and necessary. I am confident that professionals will work together and with me to get the best results for me.
- Accountability – accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding
I understand the role of everyone involved in my life and so do they.
These six principles underpin the work of professionals and other staff who work with adults. They apply to all sectors and settings that work to safeguard adults, including care and support services, further education colleges, commissioning, regulation and provision of health and care services, social work, healthcare, welfare benefits, housing, wider local authority functions and the criminal justice system. All organisations who work with or support adults experiencing, or who are at risk of, abuse may be called upon to lead or contribute to a safeguarding adult enquiry and need to be prepared to take on this responsibility. Alongside the full legislation, The Department of Health and Social Care has provided statutory guidance to assist professionals and other staff who work with adults to implement The Care Act (2014) in to their work. It includes chapters on:
- Promoting wellbeing
- Preventing, reducing or delaying needs
- Information and advice
- Market shaping and commissioning of adult care and support
- Managing provider failure and other service interruptions