Working together to safeguard adults with care and support needs

Changes to safeguarding under the Care Act

The Care Act 2014 introduced a number of new safeguarding adults statutory duties for Local Authorities and other agencies.  The specific duties are summarised as follows.

Section 1: The Local Authority has an overriding duty to promote individual well being which also covers the protection from abuse or neglect;

Section 2: Outlines the duty to reduce dependency on state intervention through preventing, delaying and reducing needs for care and support which includes preventing needs that arise from experiencing, or being at risk of abuse and neglect;

Section 4: The promotion of independence is supported by the duty to provide information and advice which includes information around staying safe and who to contact if people are concerned about not being able to maintain their own safety;

Section 6: Outlines organisations general duties of cooperation, which includes the duty upon all organisations to work together to safeguard adults who are experiencing, or at risk of abuse and neglect;

Section 11: The refusal of a needs assessment allows the Local Authority to discharge its duty of assessment if an adult refuses their right to a S9 needs assessment. However the Local Authority will be under a specific duty to undertake an assessment (when an adult is refusing) if there is reasonable belief that the adult is under coercion, or the adult is experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect;

Section 42: Duty of enquiry by Local Authority applies when there is a reasonable belief that an adult in its area (a) with care and support needs (b) is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing abuse and neglect (c) and is unable to safeguard themselves as a result of their care and support needs. When these conditions are satisfied the Local Authority must make, or cause whatever enquiries it deems necessary to determine what actions (if any) are necessary to safeguard the adult. The Local Authority cannot delegate its duty under S42 and when it causes an enquiry to be made by an external partner, it must satisfy itself that the enquiry has been concluded effectively and determine if it needs to undertake any further enquiries under S42 of the Care Act 2014. NB the eligibility for a safeguarding adult enquiry is determined by the conditions set out in S42 of the Care Act 2014 and it is UNLAWFUL to decline an enquiry on the grounds that someone is not receiving, or eligible for on-going paid support.

Section 43: Requires the Local Authority to establish a Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) whose main objective is to protect adults from experiencing, or being at risk of abuse and neglect. The three main duties of the SAB are to produce an annual strategic plan, publish an annual report and undertake a safeguarding adults review under certain circumstances.

Section 44: The SAB must commission a safeguarding adults review when an adult with needs for care and support (a) dies and abuse or neglect is suspected (b) is alive but it is believed the adult experienced significant abuse or neglect. All partners must cooperate to ensure lessons can be identified to improve local multi agency safeguarding work.

Section 45: Enables the SAB to request specific information from an individual that is necessary to support the Board to meet its primary objectives of protecting adults from abuse or neglect.

Section 47: Outlines the circumstances under which a Local Authority is under a duty to safeguard an individual’s property when they are being cared for (temporarily or permanently) away from their home.  

Section 68: Places a duty on the Local Authority to provide an advocate to support an adult who would experience significant difficulties participating in a S42 enquiry, or a safeguarding adults review under S44.   This Local Authority is not under a duty to provide an advocate if they believe there is an appropriate independent person to support the adult.

Section 81: Places a Duty of Candour on organisations to provide information when the person’s safety is affected during the course of being provided a service by their organisation.