Glossary of terms: adults safeguarding

This resource explains the meaning of commonly used terms relating to safeguarding adults.

Includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, financial, material, neglect, acts of omission, discriminatory and organisational abuse.

Support to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Under the Care Act, the local authority must arrange for an independent advocate to represent and support a person who is the subject of a safeguarding enquiry or a safeguarding adult review if they need help to understand and take part in the enquiry or review and to express their views, wishes, or feelings.

A concern that a person at risk is or may be a victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation. An alert may be a result of a disclosure, an incident, or other signs or indicators.

The person who raises a concern that an adult is being, has been, or is at risk of being abused or neglected. This could be the person themselves, a member of their family, a carer, a friend or neighbour or could be a member of staff or a volunteer.

A process to identify the needs of the person and how these impact on the wellbeing and outcomes that they wish to achieve in their day to day life.

Best interests decision
A decision made in the best interests of an individual defined by the Act) when they have been assessed as lacking the mental capacity to make a particular decision. The best interest decision must take into consideration anything relevant such the past or present wishes of the person, a lasting power of attorney or advance directive. The is also a duty to consult with relevant people who know the person such as a family member, friend, GP or advocate.

Care Act 2014
Came into force in April 2015 and significantly reforms the law relating to care and support for adults and carers. This legislation also introduces a number of provisions about safeguarding adults at risk from abuse or neglect.

Clauses 42-45 of the Care Act provide the statutory framework for protecting adults from abuse and neglect.

Care and support needs
The support a person needs to achieve key outcomes in their daily life as relating to wellbeing, quality of life and safety. The Care Act introduces a national eligibility threshold for adults with care and support needs which consists of three criteria, all of which must be met for a person’s needs to be eligible.

Care settings or services
Health care, nursing care, social care, domiciliary care, social activities, support setting, emotional support, housing support, emergency housing, befriending and advice services and services provided in someone’s own home by an organisation or paid employee for a person by means of a personal budget.

Unpaid carers such as relatives or friends of the adult. Paid workers, including personal assistants, whose job title may be ‘carer’, are called ‘staff’.

CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group)
These were formally established on 1 April 2013 to replace Primary Care Trusts and are responsible for the planning and commissioning of local health services for the local population.

Central Referral Unit
Is where all referrals to the police are received, risk assessed, graded and allocated for action by the most appropriate police team and/or partner agency.

Clinical governance
The framework through which the National Health Service (NHS) improves the quality of its services and ensures high standards of care and treatment.

Community safety
A range of services and initiatives aimed at improving safety in the community; for example safer neighbourhoods, anti-social behaviour, hate crime, domestic abuse, PREVENT, human trafficking, modern slavery, forced marriage and honour based violence.

The voluntary and continuing permission of the person to an intervention based on an adequate knowledge of the purpose, nature, likely effects and risks of that intervention, including the likelihood of its success and any alternatives to it.

Contemporaneous notes
Notes taken at the time of meetings with individuals, telephone calls, visits to premises during the course of an investigation. These may also be important in the context of giving evidence in legal proceedings.

Community Safety Partnership (CSP)
A strategic forum bringing agencies and communities together to tackle crime within their communities. Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) are made up of representatives from the responsible authorities, these are Police, police authorities, local authorities, Fire and Rescue authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Community Rehabilitation Companies and the National Probation Service.

CPA (Care Programme Approach)
An approach introduced in England for people with a mental illness, referred to specialist psychiatric services, published by the Department of Health in 1990. This requires health authorities, in collaboration with social services departments, to put in place specified arrangements for the care and treatment of people with mental ill health in the community.

CPS (Crown Prosecution Service)
The government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

CQC (Care Quality Commission)
The body responsible for the registration and regulation of health and social care in England.

DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and ‘Honour’ Based Violence)
A risk identification checklist (RIC) which is a tool used to help front-line practitioners identify high risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’ based violence.

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service)
The government body established in 2012 through the Protection of Freedoms Act and the merger of two former organisations, the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority. The DBS is designed to help employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable adults.

The DBS search police records and barring lists of prospective employees and issue DBS certificates. They also manage central barred lists of people who are known to have caused harm to adults with needs of care and support.

Defensible decision making
Providing a clear rationale based on legislation,policy, models of practice or recognised tools utilised to come to an informed decision. This decision is based on the information known at that particular time and it is important to accurately and concisely record the decision making process, in order to explain how and why the decision was made at that time.

Designated Adult Safeguarding Manager:
The person responsible within an organisation for the management and oversight of individual complex cases and coordination where allegations are made or concerns raised about a person, whether an employee, volunteer or student, paid or unpaid.

DoLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards)
Measures to protect people who lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves which came into effect in April 2009 as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and apply to people in care homes or hospitals where they may be deprived of their liberty.

Domestic violence and abuse
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family (Home Office 2012).

Domestic Homicide Reviews
Statutory reviews commissioned in response to deaths caused through domestic violence. They are subject to the guidance issued by the Home Office in 2006 under the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004. The basis for the domestic homicide review (DHR) process is to ensure agencies are responding appropriately to victims of domestic abuse offering and/or putting in place suitable support mechanisms, procedures, resources and
interventions with an aim to avoid future incidents of domestic homicide and violence.

Duty of Candour
A requirement on all health and adult social care providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to be open with people when things go wrong. The duty of candour means that providers have to act in an open and transparent way in relation to service user care and treatment.

Family Group Conferences (FGC)
An approach used to try and empower people to work out solutions to their own problems. A trained FGC coordinator can support the person at risk and their family or wider support network to reach an agreement about why the harm occurred, what needs to be done to repair the harm and what needs to be put into place to prevent it from happening again.

Involves ill treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment which are not physical), the impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in, physical or mental health and/or the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.

Hate crime
Any crime that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be racist, homophobic, transphobic or due to a person’s religion, belief, gender identity or disability.

An independent consumer champion created to gather and represent the views of the public. It exists in two distinct forms – local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England at a national level. The aim of local Healthwatch is to give citizens and communities a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided within their locality. Local Healthwatch has taken on the work of the Local Involvement Networks (LINks).

Health and Wellbeing Board
A statutory, multi-organisation committee of NHS and local authority commissioners, coordinated by the local authority which gives strategic leadership across the local authority area regarding the commissioning of health and social care services.

Human trafficking
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)
Established by the Mental Capacity Act 2005, IMCAs are a legal safeguard for people who lack the capacity to make specific important decisions, including decisions about where they live and serious medical treatment options.

IMCAs are mainly instructed to represent people where there is no one independent of services (such as a family member or friend) who is able to represent the person. However, in the case of safeguarding concerns IMCAs can be appointed anyway (i.e. irrespective of whether there are friends or family around and irrespective of whether accommodation or serious medical treatment is an issue).

Local Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB)
A statutory, multi-organisation partnership committee, coordinated by the local authority, which gives strategic leadership for adult safeguarding, across the local authority. A LSAB has the remit of agreeing objectives, setting priorities and coordinating the strategic development of adult safeguarding across its area.

Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP)
An approach to safeguarding work which aims to move away from safeguarding being process driven and instead, to place the person at risk at the centre of the process and work with them to achieve the outcomes they want.

MAPPA (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements)
Statutory arrangements for managing sexual and violent offenders.

MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference)
A multi-agency forum of organisations that manage high risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’ based violence.

MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub)
A joint service made up of Police, Adult Services, NHS and other organisations. Information from different agencies is collated and used to decide what action to take. This helps agencies to act quickly in a coordinated and consistent way, ensuring that the person at risk is kept safe.

Mate Crime
A form of exploitation which occurs when a person is harmed or taken advantage of by someone they thought was their friend.

Mental Capacity
Refers to whether someone has the mental capacity to make a decision or not. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the code of practice outlines how agencies should support someone who lacks the capacity to make a decision.

No Delay
The principle that safeguarding responses are made in a timely fashion commensurate with the level of presenting risk. In practice, this means that timescales act as a guide in recognition that these may need to be shorter or longer depending on a range of factors such as risk level or to work in a way that is consistent with the needs and wishes of the adult.

PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)
A NHS service created to provide advice and support to NHS patients and their relatives and carers.

Public interest
A decision about what is in the public interest needs to be made by balancing the rights of the individual to privacy with the rights of others to protection.

Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
The administrative arm of the Court of Protection and supports the Public Guardian in registering enduring powers of attorney, lasting powers of attorney and supervising Court of Protection appointed deputies.

The Government strategy launched in 2007 which seeks to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It is the preventative strand of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy and aims to respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat from those who promote it; prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support and work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that need to addressed.

It is the preventative strand of the government’s counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST.

Describes how the care and support system (and the organisations forming part of this system) work to actively promote the wellbeing and independence of people rather than waiting to respond when people reach a crisis point. The purpose of this approach is to prevent, reduce or delay needs escalating.

Protection of property
The duty on the local authority to protect the movable property of a person with care and support needs who is being cared for away from home in a hospital or in accommodation such as a care home, and who cannot arrange to protect their property themselves. This could include their pets as well as their personal property (e.g. private possessions and furniture).

This involves the exploitation of susceptible people who are drawn into violent extremism by radicalisers often using a persuasive rationale and charismatic individuals to attract people to their cause. The aim is to attract people to their reasoning, inspire new recruits and embed their extreme views and persuade vulnerable individuals of the legitimacy of their cause.

The PREVENT Strategy, launched in 2007, seeks to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

An alert becomes a referral once it has been assessed and it has been determined that the concerns raised fall within the remit of adult safeguarding arrangements.

Activity to protect a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It involves people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that their wellbeing and safety is promoted.

Safeguarding activity
Actions undertaken upon receipt of a safeguarding referral. This may include information gathering, holding a safeguarding planning meeting, activities to resolve the risks highlighted, safeguarding review meetings and developing a safeguarding plan with the adult at risk.

Safeguarding support plan
One outcome of the enquiry may be the formulation of agreed action for the adult which should be recorded on their care plan. This will be the responsibility of the relevant agencies to implement.

Safeguarding planning meeting
A multi-agency meeting (or discussion) involving professionals and the adult if they choose, to agree how best to deal with the situation as determined by the views and wishes of the individual.

Safeguarding work
Describes all the work multi-agency partners undertake either on a single agency basis (as part of their core business) or on a multi-agency basis within the context of local adult safeguarding arrangements.

Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR)
A statutory review commissioned by the Local Safeguarding Adults Board in response to the death or serious injury of an adult with needs of care and support (regardless of whether or not the person was in receipt of services) and it is believed abuse or neglect was a factor. The process aims to identify learning in order to improve future practice and partnership working.

Safeguarding enquiry
The action taken or instigated by the local authority in response to a concern that abuse or neglect may be taking place. An enquiry could range from a conversation with the adult, or if they lack capacity, or have substantial difficulty in understanding the enquiry their representative or advocate, prior to initiating a formal enquiry under section 42, right through to a much more formal multi-agency plan or course of action. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘section 42 enquiry’.

Self neglect
The inability (intentional or non-intentional) to maintain a socially and culturally accepted standard of self-care with the potential for serious consequences to the health and well-being of the self-neglecters and perhaps even to their community.

Significant harm
The ill treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment which are not physical), and impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in, physical or mental health, and the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.

SIRI (Serious Incident Requiring Investigation)
A process used in the NHS to investigate serious incidents resulting in serious harm or unexpected or avoidable death of one or more patients, staff, visitors or members of the public.

Vital interests
A term used in the Data Protection Act 1998 to permit sharing of information where it is critical to prevent serious harm or distress or in life threatening situations.

Wilful neglect or ill treatment
An intentional, deliberate or reckless omission or failure to carry out an act of care by someone who has care of a person who lacks capacity to care for themselves.


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