The Safeguarding Enquiry Process
If you have concerns that an adult is at risk of abuse or neglect, and due to their care and support needs, they are unable to keep themselves safe, this should be reported to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
Once the MASH receive this report, they will conduct research and if necessary request that a s42 safeguarding enquiry is completed.
What is a Safeguarding Enquiry?
Section 42 of the Care Act 2014 requires that each local authority must make enquiries (or cause others to do so) if it believes an adult is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect. When an allegation about abuse or neglect has been made, an enquiry is undertaken to find out what, if anything, has happened.
An enquiry should establish whether any action needs to be taken to prevent or stop abuse or neglect, and if so, by whom.
The findings from the enquiry are used to decide whether abuse has taken place and whether the adult at risk needs a protection plan. A protection plan is a list of arrangements that are required to keep the person safe.
What does a safeguarding enquiry involve?
The purpose of a safeguarding enquiry is to decide what action is needed to help and protect the adult.
Its aims are to:
- establish the facts about an incident or allegation;
- ascertain the adult’s views and wishes on what they want as an outcome from the enquiry;
- assess the needs of the adult for protection, support and redress and how they might be met;
- protect the adult from the abuse and neglect, as the adult wishes;
- establish if any other person is at risk of harm;
- make decisions as to what follow-up actions should be taken with regard to the person or organisation responsible for the abuse or neglect
- enable the adult to achieve resolution and recovery.
The enquiry may involve a wide range of activities depending on the circumstances. It will include interviewing people who have witnessed or been involved in the incident. It might also involve reviewing records or policies and procedures.
Sometimes other enquiries will also be needed under other procedures. For example, if a criminal offence is suspected the police may undertake an investigation, and if so, this will take priority. If the person is an employee, then a disciplinary process may be required. There may also be a need for an internal incident investigation.
A safeguarding enquiry is separate from these, but often it is possible for organisations to work together so that people do not need to be interviewed more than once.
The Surrey Safeguarding Adult Board has published new guidance materials for members of the public to provide information on types of risk for adults with care and support needs.
SSAB Guide to Section 42 Enquiries