Adults at Risk Safeguarding Policy and Procedure
Last Reviewed: September 2022
Next Review: September 2023
This document sets out the organisation’s overall approach to protecting vulnerable adults from abuse. It is supported by procedures which detail how this policy is to be carried out by staff, volunteers and trustees.
Laws exist to protect vulnerable adults, including,
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Protecting of Freedoms Act 2012
- Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) code of practice: 0-25 years – Statutory Guidance
- Care Act 2014
This policy must be read in conjunction with the following internal and external documents:
- Gloucestershire Adult Safeguarding Board : Adult Safeguarding: Multi-agency policy and procedures for the protection of adults with care and support needs in Gloucestershire.
- Gloucestershire Mental Capacity Act Multi-Agency Policy, Procedures and Guidance.
- GRASAC’s Domestic Abuse Policy 2022 and GRASAC’s Dual Status Policy 2021.
Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy
- GRASAC is committed to safeguarding vulnerable adults who use its services.
- Vulnerable adults are people aged over 18 years who are or may be in need of community care services because of disability, age or illness and may be unable to take of themselves or to protect themselves from harm or exploitation – Care Act 2014.
- Community Care services are provided to the following:
- People with learning disabilities
- People with physical disabilities
- People with mental ill health
- People with drug or alcohol dependencies
- People with certain types of physical illness
- People with dementia
- People who are frail due to age or other factors
- People who are homeless
The types of abuse experienced by vulnerable adults include;
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Neglect and acts of omission
- Psychological abuse
- Financial/material abuse
- Discriminatory abuse
- Organisational abuse
- Domestic abuse
- Self neglect
- Modern day slavery
- GRASAC will:
- Ensure that all staff, volunteers, Trustees and those delivering direct support to clients and staff have enhanced DBS checks and are precluded from involvement in the organisation as appropriate (see separate DBS Policy).
- Ensure that all individuals providing 1:1 Support complete Adults Level 3 Safeguarding Training
- Ensure that all individuals providing 1:1 support complete training on working with domestic abuse at least every 2 years
- Provide clear and detailed procedures on decision making, accountability and recording of adults at risk safeguarding situations
- Provide thorough and effective training to staff and volunteers on adults at risk protection procedures
- Appoint a member of staff to be the Designated Adults at Risk Lead
- Provide regular and consistent supervision and support to volunteers and staff which have at the core of service , the safety and welfare of clients (whether adults or children)
- Ensure that the organisation is able to learn from specific adults at risk protection situations and to review policy and procedures as a result if necessary
- Maintain a current knowledge of adults at risk protection procedures nationally and within Gloucestershire
- Promote empowerment and autonomy for adults, including those who lack capacity for a particular decision as embodied in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
- implementing an approach which appropriately balances this with safeguarding.
- Report any serious safeguarding incidents to the Charity Commission in line with regulatory requirements for charities in England and Wales https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission and make contact with Adult Safeguarding Board for advice and guidance.
- The organisation operates a confidential service but if it is assessed that an adult at risk is being abused then confidentiality can be breached within procedural guidelines. In this event, a staff member/volunteer is expected to discuss the action they propose to take with a client beforehand unless it is assessed by the Designated Lead (that this would place the adult at greater risk.
- If it is felt that an adult is at risk of significant harm through the identified types of abuse (above)and the details of the adult at risk are known, the designated agency in Gloucestershire should be contacted following discussion and agreement of any actions with the Designated Lead
- All discussions about specific adults at risk protection situations need to be recorded by the volunteer/staff member and Designated Lead Adults at Risk Safeguarding Officer, regardless of the eventual action taken.
The Designated Lead GRASAC is the Service and Training Manager. If the Service and Training Manager is not available, the CEO or Team Leader/s needs to be contacted. It is GRASAC policy that at least one member of the leadership team is available at all times.
No individual volunteer or staff member will make a decision regarding the protection of vulnerable adults alone
No volunteer or staff member should make a referral regarding an adult who may be at risk, or break confidentiality without prior discussion with, and the agreement of, the Designated Lead
Confidentiality in this respect refers to the requirement not to share anything about a client without their consent to anyone outside of GRASAC. It is vital that information is shared within the organisation so that the safest decisions are made.
Maintaining the confidentiality of those who use GRASAC is a vital part of the ethos of the organisation and, generally, this can be assured. However, when a staff member or volunteer has a strong suspicion that a vulnerable adult is at risk of harm, the responsibility to safeguard the vulnerable adult overrides that of confidentiality to a client or colleague. Designated Lead MUST break confidentiality where detailed information is known if necessary, in these circumstances.
At the start of any work being carried out, it will be clearly explained that confidentiality cannot be maintained where the volunteer/ staff member believes that there is danger to a client or risk to others by the client. Volunteers/staff members need to be clear with vulnerable adults about where boundaries lie. Vulnerable adults can be reassured that no information can be disclosed without their consent, unless related to a significant risk to their life, the lives of others or the welfare of a child.
If confidentiality cannot be maintained, the information will only be shared with relevant people.
Whenever there is either evidence or suspicion of abuse the volunteer or staff member concerned will discuss these concerns with the vulnerable adult. The volunteer or staff member will explain clearly to the vulnerable adult the reasons for having to pass information on to other professionals and the procedures for dealing with Safeguarding.
Adults at risk will be kept informed of decisions by GRASAC and supported appropriately.
Generally, GRASAC works on the basis of consent and in many situations consent to take action can be sought from a client without compromising their safety but consent must not be sought if it may place a vulnerable adult at greater risk.
What to do if you think a vulnerable adult is being abused or neglected in any situation
A volunteer or staff member may be given direct information about an adult at risk who is currently at risk of harm or they may be given information which leads them to a professional judgement that a vulnerable adult is being harmed or is at risk of harm.
The volunteer/staff member with immediate concerns about safeguarding should report the matter to the Designated Lead immediately. The Designated (or deputy) Adult at Risk Officer will discuss the situation with the volunteer/staff member which will be recorded on Oasis . The Designated Lead ) will decide whether to report the situation to the Police (or Local Adult Safeguarding Board (if risk of harm of not imminent) via GCC’s designated helpdesk. Click on this link for the procedure to report: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/adults-and-older-people/report-suspected-abuse-safeguarding-adults-at-risk/
If there is consent from the client to make a safeguarding referral then this can be agreed and made immediately by telephone by the Service and Training Manager (or other designated officer) and followed up in writing. The designated officer contact details are provided at the end of this document.
If gaining consent from a client may place an adult at risk at greater risk of harm then this route is not an option, referrals should made by GRASAC breaching confidentiality as described above.
What to do if you suspect a Staff Member, Volunteer or Trustee is abusing a Vulnerable Adult
If the information you have regarding risk to a Adult at risk relates to abuse by a member of GRASAC you should immediately inform the CEO. If the allegation concerns the CEO, you should speak directly to the one of the Co-Chairs.
The member of GRASAC will be suspended immediately for the duration investigation and any subsequent disciplinary action (as laid out in the relevant GRASAC Handbook) on the authority of the Designated Lead and a member of the Board of Trustees. This is not an assumption of guilt but serves to allow the appropriate investigation to take place and protects the member of staff or volunteer from further allegations.
Records must be made of discussions, decisions and actions taken at all stages of the procedure, clearly indicating who was present.
Records will be kept securely in a confidential place in the GRASAC office.
Contact Details for Referrals:
GRASAC Office – 01452 305421 in the first instance
Service Manager – Rachel Hole – 07508 614809
CEO – Gilli Appleby- 07760 787856
Team Leader- Rachael Howells- 07867 947381
Team Leader – Alice Webb- 07765 992813
Designated Adults at Risk Officer (Trustee) (Dr. Louise Livesey) – Co-Chair 07944 933709
Out of hours
Adult Services Emergency Duty Team on 01452 614194
If concerned about the immediate safety of a vulnerable adult the police should be contacted (at any time) by dialling 999.