How it works: Raising a Safeguarding Alert

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It is Safeguarding Adults Week (Monday 21st November – Sunday 27th November)! 

Today we’re continuing our series with Pete Morgan, Independent Scrutineer on Advance’s Safeguarding Panel.

In this post, Pete talks us through what happens when you raise a safeguarding alert


1. ADVANCE: In what circumstances should a colleague, customer or family member raise a safeguarding alert?

PETE: "The simple answer is, if you’ve got an inkling something is not right and there could be a sign of abuse or neglect, you should report it. For example, if a member of staff visits a customer and notices their grocery money is gone yet they have no food, they should tell the manager."

2. ADVANCE: Can you explain what happens when a member of staff, customer or family member first raises a safeguarding alert?

PETE: "Staff, customers, or family members will begin by raising the safeguarding alert with the service manager. It is the managers’ responsibility to investigate the alert and decide if it is possibly abuse or neglect, and if they think it is, raise a safeguarding concern with the local authority. The local authority the must decide whether to initiate a Section 42 Enquiry."

3. ADVANCE: What is a section 42 Enquiry?

PETE: "Under Section 42 of the Care Act 2014, a local authority has a duty to undertake, or cause another agency to undertake a Section 42 Enquiry if it has reasonable grounds to consider an adult with care and support needs is or may have experience abuse or neglect and is unable to protect themselves against that abuse or neglect.

In simple terms, it is an assessment to determine what action, if any, is needed to safeguard the adult.  Advance’s staff and customers are participating in assessments of one sort or anther every day, so it is nothing to be afraid of or intimidated by."

 4. ADVANCE: How is the customer involved in the safeguarding process?

PETE: "The customer is central to the safeguarding process. They should be involved as far as they are able to and have the capacity to understand it, without putting the customer at risk or putting either our  internal investigation or the Section 42 Enquiry at risk."

 5. ADVANCE: How much will family be involved in the safeguarding process?

PETE: "The family are involved as far as the customer is happy for them to be. The final decision sits with the customer unless there is a legal reason (e.g. power of attorney) which legally requires their families’ involvement."

6. ADVANCE: What role to advocates play in safeguarding?

PETE: "Independent advocates can be provided by the local authority to assist with the safeguarding process. Advocates can be important in empowering the customer to express their views and ensure their desired outcomes are heard and respected. If the customer has been assessed as lacking the capacity to participate in the safeguarding process, then an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate may be commissioned by the local authority."

7. ADVANCE: When should the police become involved?

PETE: "The police are not always consulted if no obvious crime has been committed. The police should be involved when it is thought a crime has been potentially committed. Most crime isn’t abuse but abuse can be a crime, especially when a crime occurs in a relationship of trust, such as with a paid carer, family member or friend."


Tomorrow’s focus: How to support a customer following a safeguarding incident


Find out more:

The Ann Craft Trust are putting on a series of free webinars this week focusing on various forms of abuse and exploitation. If you have time, do sign up and go along!

Thursday 24 November (TOMORROW!) - Using the power your role gives you to create safer and stronger cultures. More info >>

Friday 25 November - DBS - Safer and fairer recruitment when working with adults at risk. More info >>

If you want to read up more about a specific Safeguarding topic, take a look on the Ann Craft Trust’s website