With so many pieces of legislation and guidance relating to Safeguarding Adults, it is hard to remember them all. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are relevant to all UK countries.
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is designed to combat modern slavery in the UK and consolidates previous offences relating to trafficking and slavery. The act extends to England and Wales.
The Act makes provision about slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and about human trafficking, including provision for the protection of victims; to make provision for an Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner; and for connected purposes.
Link:Modern Slavery Act 2015
The Data Protection Act 2018 sets out the framework for data protection legislation in the UK, replacing the Data Protection Act 1998. It supports the protection of information by outlining how personal data must be stored, collected and processed, and is relevant to adult safeguarding practice because it sets out when information should be shared, and lines of responsibility for the collection and processing of data.
Link:Data Protection Act 2018
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 promotes equality of opportunity by making it illegal to discriminate against people living with disabilities on the basis of their disability.
Link:Disability Discrimination Act 1995
The Equality Act 2010 makes it an offence to discriminate on the basis of nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
Link:Equality Act 2010
The Human Rights Act 1998 consists of 14 articles reflecting those used in the European Convention on Human Rights, to give rights to every person living in the UK. It came into force in October 2000. Articles 2 and 3 are of particular relevance to adult safeguarding, as these are the right to life and the right to freedom from torture and inhumane or degrading treatment, respectively.
Link:Human Rights Act 1998
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an international human rights law which protects and promotes individuals’ fundamental right and freedoms. It aims to ensure all people can gain freedom, equality and dignity.
Link:Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) promotes high standards of social care services and influences the development of social care legislation and respective policy.
Protect provide specific guidance and advice on whistleblowing, all of which is free of charge and confidential.
Skills for Care offer tools and support to assist the social care workforce to achieve best practice, supporting the implementation of underpinning legislation.
The Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) provides guidance on best practice using evidence-based practice. SCIE is a leading support agency and independent charity working with organisations that support adults, families and children working across the UK.
In the UK, we have pieces of safeguarding adults legislation and guidance that are relevant across the nation, but we also have pieces that are country-specific. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are specific to England.
The Care Act 2014 established six key safeguarding principles that underpin all adult safeguarding work: empowerment, prevention, proportionality of response, protection, partnership, and accountability. The Care Act balances the right to be safe with the right to make informed choices, whilst also promoting the adult’s wellbeing by outlining ten different types of adult safeguarding risks: physical, financial, sexual, psychological, discriminatory, and organisation abuse; domestic violence; neglect; self-neglect; and modern slavery.
Link:Care Act 2014
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 protects people who are unable to make decisions for themselves because of an impairment of the mind due to a stroke or brain injury, mental health illness, dementia, learning disability, confusion, drowsiness or unconsciousness caused by substance misuse or side effect of medication.
Link:Mental Capacity Act 2005
In July 2018, the government published a Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which passed into law in May 2019. It replaces the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) with a scheme known as the Liberty Protection Safeguards. The target date for implementation is October 2020. Prior to then, a revised MCA Code of Practice will be published which will provide further information about how the Liberty Protection Safeguards will be implemented in practice.
Link:Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019
The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice 2007 uses the 2005 Act as a basis to provide practice guidance to people who work with or care for people who a lack mental capacity themselves because of a stroke or brain injury; a mental health illness; dementia; a learning disability; or confusion, drowsiness or unconsciousness caused by medication for a condition or substance misuse.
Link:Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice 2007
The Mental Health Act 1983 was designed to protect and uphold the rights of people lacking capacity because of mental health illness. It specifically, outlines the requirement for people to have access to an advocate and supported access to the community. It was updated in 2007.
Link:Mental Health Act 1983
Adult Safeguarding: Roles and Competencies for Health Care Staff 2018 outlines the professional standards that all staff working in healthcare organisations will need to meet if they are to be involved in adult safeguarding. This guidance was commissioned by NHS England and aims to safeguard anyone over the age of 18 who is at risk of abuse, harm and neglect.
Link:Adult Safeguarding: Roles and Competencies for Health Care Staff 2018
Care and Support Statutory Guidance 2018 constitutes guidance outlining how organisations and professionals can meet the requirements set out in the Care Act 2014.
Link:Care and Support Statutory Guidance (Department of Health and Social Care) 2018
The Care Quality Commission inspects and regulates health and social care services in England. It provides guidance for services on safeguarding practice and how they underpin and contribute towards effective safeguarding.
Link:Care Quality Commission (CQC)
The Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England 2013 sets out the standard of conduct expected of health and social care workers, including behaviours and attitude. Although it is non-statutory guidance, it provides a framework for healthcare and social care workers to work within to ensure they maintain professionalism whilst identifying areas for continuing professional development.
Link:The Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England
Making Decisions: The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) Service provides non-statutory guidance to assist understanding of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service.
Link:Making Decisions: The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) Service
In the UK, we have pieces of safeguarding adults legislation and guidance that are relevant across the nation, but we also have pieces that are country-specific. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are specific to Scotland.
The Adult Support and Protection Act places the lead role of the local council and its related powers and duties on a statutory footing. Section 4 of the Act requires local councils to make inquiries about a person’s wellbeing, property or financial affairs where appears that an adult at risk may need intervention and protections. It also includes provisions for assessment orders, removal orders and banning orders.
Link:Adult Support and Protection Act 2007
The Adults with Incapacity Act 2000 provides a framework for safeguarding the welfare and managing the finances of adults who lack capacity because of a mental illness, learning disability, dementia, a related condition or have an inability to communicate. The Act provides for three types of protection when an adult lacks capacity: welfare guardianship, financial guardianship, and power of attorney.
Link:Adults with Incapacity Act 2000
The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2003 applies to adults living with a mental illness, learning disability or related condition referred to as ‘mental disorder’. The Act sets out when and how people can be treated if they have a mental disorder; when people can be treated or taken into hospital against their will; what a person’s rights are, and the safeguards which ensure these rights are protected; and that people with learning disabilities and/or a mental illness have a right to independent advocacy.
Link:Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2003
The Mental Health Act 2015 consists of 10 principles that should be upheld when safeguarding individuals with mental health issues, including that the person’s background, beliefs and abilities should be taken into account; that a range of options for their care should be explored; and that any restrictions on the person’s freedom are the minimum necessary in the circumstances.
Link:Mental Health Act 2015
The Protection of Vulnerable Groups Act 2007 prevents unsuitable people working with children, young people and adults at risk and ensuring any organisation working with vulnerable people has an appropriate safeguarding policy for recruiting and staff and volunteers; responding to actual and suspected incidents of abuse; and conducting risk assessments.
Link:Protection of Vulnerable Groups Act 2007
Act Against Harm constitutes information and advice provided by the Scottish Government about the Adult Support and Protection Act 2006.
The Care Inspectorate inspects and regulates health and social care services in Scotland. It provides guidance for services on safeguarding practice and how they underpin and contribute towards effective safeguarding.
Disclosure Scotland’s Framework Document 2018 outlines how Disclosure Scotland operates to fulfil the duties set out in the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007. Disclosure Scotland manages the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme, including barring unsuitable people from certain types of work.
Link:Disclosure Scotland – Framework Document
The Adult Support and Protection Code of Practice 2014 provides guidance about the performance functions by councils, their officers and other professionals. It also outlines how councils and practitioners should implemented the Adult Support and Protection Act 2007.
Link:Adult Support and Protection Code of Practice
National Care Services ensure that people using services and their families know what to expect, and what action to take if they are unhappy or worried about any aspect of their care, and apply to the groups such as elderly, people with substance abuse problems, and care homes for those with learning disabilities.
Link:National Care Standards
In the UK, we have pieces of safeguarding adults legislation and guidance that are relevant across the nation, but we also have pieces that are country-specific. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are specific to Northern Ireland.
The Criminal Law Act 1976 establishes an obligation on citizens to provide the police with any information they may have which is likely to assist in arresting, prosecution or conviction of a perpetrator of a serious criminal offence.
Link:Criminal Law Act 1967
Article 37 of the Health and Personal Social Services Order 1972 supports adults in need of care and attention to access support. The adult must be suffering from grave or chronic disease; elderly, inform or physically incapacitated; living in unsanitary conditions, and unable to look after themselves or pay for appropriate care.
Link:Health and Personal Social Services Order 1972
Link:Health and Social Care (Reform) Act 2009
The Mental Capacity Act 2016 aims to protect the rights and safety of people who lack capacity because of a mental health illness or severe mental impairment. The Act promotes people’s autonomy and decision-making capacity, by introducing a mental capacity test with a ‘presumption of capacity’ applied until proven otherwise.
Link:Mental Capacity Act 2016
Article 121 of the Mental Health Order 1986 criminalises the ill treatment or willful neglect of a person in a hospital or nursing home who is receiving treatment for a mental disorder such as dementia, whilst Article 129 enables the adult who is being subjected to mistreatment to be removed from a premises.
Link:The Mental Health Order 1986
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Order 2008 prevents unsuitable people working with children, young people and adults at risk by ensuring any organisation working with vulnerable people has an appropriate safeguarding policy in place and clearly-defined procedures to protect vulnerable children and adults and ensure there effective record keeping systems in place.
Link:Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups
The Sexual Offences Order 2008 constitutes a legislative framework for sexual offences, including offences against people with a mental disorder.
Link:The Sexual Offences Order 2008
Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) is a charity working exclusively to safeguard and protect older people from all forms of abuse. They raise awareness about the types of abuse and harm older people are more likely to experience; provide direct advice, guidance and support to older people at risk of abuse or in need of protection; engage with older people, practitioners and policy makes to improve prevention and protection by organising conferences, seminars and policy briefings, and campaign for the best possible support and prevention frameworks.
Adult Safeguarding Operational Procedures 2016 set out broad principles of good practice when responding to adults who are in need of protection. They place the adult at the centre of the safeguarding process and provide practical guidance on how specific roles within organisations should be implemented.
Link:Adult Safeguarding Operational Procedures: Adults at Risk of Harm and Adults in Need of Protection 2016
Adult Safeguarding: Prevention and Practice in Partnership 2015 constitutes a policy of practices that need to be followed to support effective and robust adult safeguarding practices. It highlights the importance of ensuring that adults that have experienced abuse are provided access to support, and aims to reduce incidences of harm, abuse and exploitation of adults at risk by raising awareness of effective adult safeguarding practices and policy, including responses to suspected and reported abuse.
Link:Adult Safeguarding: Prevention and Protection in Partnership 2015
The Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland provides information and guidance centred on safeguarding and protecting older adults, and also gives information about the types of abuse and appropriate responses.
NISCC is the regulatory body for the social care workforce across Northern Ireland, it maintains professional standards and guidance. Its Standards of Code of Conduct for Social Care Workers provides advice and guidance on professional practice for social care workers.
Link:NISCC Social Care Workers’ Book
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) offer information relevant to safeguarding adults. They offer advice and guidance across a wide range of topics.
In the UK, we have pieces of safeguarding adults legislation and guidance that are relevant across the nation, but we also have pieces that are country-specific. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are specific to Wales.
The Inspection of Social Care Act 2016 places service quality and improvement at the heart of regulation, strengthening protection for those who need it, whilst ensuring services deliver high quality care and support.
Link:Inspection of Social Care Act 2016
The Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014 constitutes a legal framework for improving the wellbeing of people by outlining safeguarding provision for both adults and children who need care and support. In relation to adults, ‘wellbeing’ includes physical, intellectual, emotional, social and behavioural development as well as ‘welfare’.
Link:Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014
Working Together to Safeguard People comprises of seven volumes of statutory guidance, the goal of which is to implement and follow the Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014. For the purposes of adult safeguarding practice, Volumes 1, 3, 4 and 6 are especially relevant.
The Code of Professional Practice for Social Care 2017 provides an outline of the expected professional conduct of anyone employed in the social care sector. It also informs social care worker employers of the policies and procedures social care workers must meet. Central to the Code is a drive to improve outcomes for individuals receiving care and promote their wellbeing.
Link:Code of Professional Practice for Social Care 2017
The Navigating Social Services document provides information and guidance for older adults, outlining their rights and how people are protected. It also reflects the duties set out in the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014.
Link:Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014
The Care Information Learning Hub provides a wealth of resources to support understanding around the implementation of social care legislation in Wales as part of a national training programme to enable practitioners to develop robust knowledge of safeguarding practices to reduce adult abuse and neglect.
Link:The Information and Learning Hub (the hub)
The Care Inspectorate Wales inspects and regulates health and social care services in Wales by providing guidance for services on safeguarding practice and how they underpin and contribute towards effective safeguarding.