Terms used in Adult’s Safeguarding


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


Advocacy        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.


Adult Safeguarding    Where the local authority has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in its area (whether or not ordinarily resident) and s/he has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs) AND s/he is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect AND as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of this, the local authority must make (or cause to be made) whatever enquiries it thinks necessary to enable it to decide whether any action should be taken in the adult’s case and, if so, what and by whom


Adult Social Care        The practical or emotional care or support people need to enable them to lead an active life and do the everyday things that most of us take for granted. Adult Services are responsible for assessing people’s need for ‘community care’ or ‘social care’ services and for arranging or providing these services. Within national guidance, each authority sets its own criteria as to what needs are eligible for services – the council is obliged by law to meet eligible needs. Wide range of services to help people with daily living: adaptations and equipment, day centres, domiciliary support, personal care, respite, carer support, residential care, etc.


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. There 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 requiring local authorities to consider the following 3 conditions when determining eligibility:

1)         The adult’s needs for care and support arise from or are related to a physical or mental impairment or illness and are not caused by other circumstantial factors.

2)         As a result of the adult’s needs, the adult is unable to achieve two or more of the outcomes specified in regulations.

3)         As a consequence of being unable to achieve these outcomes, there is, or there is likely to be, a significant impact on the adult’s wellbeing


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.


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


Community safety     A range of services and initiatives aimed at improving safety in the community. These include Safer Neighbourhoods, anti-social behaviour, hate crime, domestic abuse, PREVENT, human trafficking, modern slavery, forced marriage and honour violence. )


Consent          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.


CPA     Care Programme Approach – An approach introduced in England in the joint Health and Social Services Circular HC(90)23/LASSL(90)11, The Care Programme Approach 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.


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


DBS     Disclosure and Barring Service – A 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.


Allegations against people in a position of trust    Allegations are made or concerns raised about a person, whether an employee, volunteer or student, paid or unpaid whose role brings them into contact with a child or adult with care and support needs.


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 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.


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    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.


Harm   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.


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.


IMCA   Independent Mental Capacity Advocate – 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).


MSP    Making Safeguarding Personal – 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.


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 outline how agencies should support someone who lacks the capacity to make a decision.


No Delay Principle     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 – An 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.


OPG    Office of the Public Guardian – 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.


PREVENT         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 counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST.


Prevention     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.


Radicalisation             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.


Safeguarding              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 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’.


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   A statutory review commissioned by the Safeguarding Adults Partnership 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.


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.


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.