What safeguarding duties does the local authority have?
If the local authority has good reason to believe you're a person at risk (meaning safeguarding duties apply), and you are in its area, then it must make an enquiry so it can decide what action should be taken.
What is an enquiry?
An enquiry might just be a conversation with you, or it may be a more formal multi-agency investigation. It depends on the circumstances.
The aim of an enquiry is to:
- find out the facts
- see what your views are
- assess whether you need protection, support and redress (such as compensation if you have lost money)
- protect you from the abuse and neglect, taking into account your wishes
- make decisions about follow-up action
- help you come to terms with what has happened and move towards recovery.
You should be fully involved in the enquiry. If you have difficulty in being involved, then the local authority should appoint an advocate for you.
What happens after an enquiry?
Once the enquiry has happened, and the local authority knows what your wishes are, there are a number of things that could happen:
- There could be no further action.
- Staff could be disciplined (for example if you had been abused or neglected by a care worker).
- If the enquiry reveals that a criminal offence has been committed against you, then the local authority will pass over the enquiry to the police.
- The local authority could prepare a safeguarding plan which might set out:
- what future steps should be taken
- what further support, treatment or information you may need
- what further risk prevention strategies should be undertaken.
What is a 'safeguarding adults board'?
All local authorities must have a safeguarding adults board. Its purpose is to:
- help and protect adults at risk in their areas
- conduct safeguarding adult reviews when there are concerns about how the authorities have responded, or it is suspected that an adult has suffered severe abuse or neglect or has died as a result of abuse or neglect.
The board is made up of:
Other people, such as GPs or members of user, advocacy or carers groups can also be invited to attend some meetings.
This information was published in February 2018. We will revise it in 2020.