Adult Support and Protection revised Code of Practice

This revised Code of Practice is to replace the Code of Practice published in 2008.

Chapter 1: About this code

What is the purpose of this code?

1. The Adult Support and Protection Act 2007 (referred to as the Act) was passed by the Scottish Parliament in spring 2007. This code of practice (referred to as the Code throughout) provides guidance about the performance of functions by councils and their officers, and other professionals under Part 1 of the Act.

2. It provides information and guidance on the principles of the Act, about the measures contained within the Act including when and where it would normally be appropriate to use such powers. Work on amending commenced in summer 2013 to bring it up to date and to outline the responsibilities that fall to a range of agencies in addition to council and health professionals.

3. This Code must be used in conjunction with other relevant Codes of practice as appropriate, such as those developed to support the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, and any other relevant professional codes of practice.

4. Collectively the legislation giving rise to these codes has introduced significant changes in the ways that adults considered to be at risk of harm are supported and protected. The changes have brought about a range of powers that may be used to intervene in adults' lives. This includes a requirement to involve people who use services in decision-making regarding their care, treatment and support wherever possible.

What is the status of this Code?

5. Section 48 of the Act imposes a duty on Scottish Ministers to prepare a code of practice containing guidance for those exercising functions under Part 1 of the Act. It also places a duty on councils, council officers and health professionals performing functions under Part 1 to have regard to the Code of Practice, if relevant.

6. The Act also places Scottish Ministers under a duty to review the Code from time to time and provides a power following such review to revise it. Those using this Code are advised to check the relevant measures themselves and to seek their own legal advice as required, when referring to the relevant provisions of the Act.

Who developed this Code?

7. The original and revised Codes were prepared by a working group of professionals drawn from the public and the independent and third sector in Scotland, in conjunction with several independent chairs of Adult Protection Committees and the Scottish Government.

Who is this Code for?

8. This Code is addressed to anyone who is authorised or required to perform any of the functions under Part 1 of the Act. This means primarily council officers from local authorities, but also health professionals and the police, as well as the statutory bodies identified later in this Code. It should also be considered by those working in the independent and third sector.

European Convention on Human Rights compliance

9. All Acts of the Scottish Parliament under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998 are required to comply with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). All bodies and practitioners must also ensure that they conduct their duties in a way, which would be ECHR compliant.

Subordinate legislation

10. The Act should be read in conjunction with all subordinate legislation made under the Act. Practitioners are advised to check the Adult Support and Protection pages on the Scottish Government website for current information and the Office of the Public Sector Information website for links to the subordinate legislation.


Email: Stephanie Robin

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