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The Safeguarding Process

The safeguarding process is a four stage process. It’s purpose is to identify what action, if any, needs to be taken to protect an adult with care and support needs from abuse, neglect or self neglect. The process is set out in detail in detail in the London Multi Agency Adult Safeguarding Policy and Procedures. All adult safeguarding practice should be carried out in line with the principles of Making Safeguarding Personal.

STAGE 1: Concern Stage

An adult safeguarding concern is a worry that an adult who appears to have care and support needs may be subject to, or may be at risk of, abuse, or self neglect, and may be unable to protect themselves against this.

The adult does not need to be already in receipt of care and support. These concerns should be reported via Adult Social Care. The concern will be passed to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and risk assessment and safety planning will be undertaken and a decision will be made about whether there is a need and duty to make further enquiries under s.42 of the care Act 2014. 

STAGE 2: Enquiry Stage

When the Local Authority becomes aware of a situation that meets the criteria described in the above three steps, it must make or arrange an enquiry under Section 42 of the Care Act 2014. The Local Authority must make, or ask other to make, whatever enquiries are necessary to establish what action, if any, should be taken to safeguard the adult at risk. 

Where the circumstances are not such as to trigger the Section 42 safeguarding duty, the Local Authority may choose to carry out proportionate safeguarding enquiries, in order to promote the adult’s well-being and to support preventative action.

An enquiry should establish whether, and what, action needs to be taken to prevent or stop abuse or neglect.

STAGE 3: Safeguarding Plan and Review Stage

In most cases there will be a natural transition between deciding what actions are needed and the end of the enquiry. The actions that are needed to safeguarding the person should be clearly identified and the professionals or other people responsible for completing those actions should be clear as to what they are being asked to do. This is the adult safeguarding plan.

An adult safeguarding plan is not a care and support plan, and it will focus on care provision only in relation to the aspects that safeguard against abuse or neglect, or which offer a therapeutic or recovery-based resolution. In many cases the provision of care and support may be important in addressing the risk of abuse or neglect, but where this is the intention the adult safeguarding plan must be specific as to how this intervention will achieve this outcome.

STAGE 4: Closing The Enquiry

A safeguarding enquiry can be closed at any stage. Individuals should be advised on how and who to contact with agreement on how matters will be followed up with the adult at risk if there are further concerns. It is good practice that where, for example, an assessment of care and support needs or a health review takes place following the safeguarding enquiry, the reviewer checks explicitly whether there have been any further concerns abut abuse, neglect or self neglect.