The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in Spring 2007. This legislation has brought about significant changes in the ways that adults considered to be at risk of harm are supported and protected. It includes a range of powers that can used to intervene in adults’ lives and conveys duties on named public services to protect adults at risk of harm. Over the intervening years, the legislation has become firmly embedded in policy and practice across Scotland.
Since 2007, a significant amount of multi-agency improvement work has taken place at local, regional and national levels across Scotland. Improvement activities have included strengthening governance arrangements, working on national priorities, delivering prevention work, practice improvement, learning and development, developing guidance and the involvement of service users and carers in adult support and protection (ASP). This improvement plan has been informed by and includes the outcomes from previous and ongoing improvement work, it does not start afresh.
A thematic inspection of ASP (under Section 115 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010) was undertaken in 2017-18 by the Care Inspectorate and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland. Support was also provided by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
The publication can be found at the following link:
The inspection included six adult protection partnership areas in Scotland and evaluated each against the following three quality indicators:
1. Outcomes – evaluating whether adults at risk of harm were safe, protected and supported.
2. Key processes – evaluating referrals of adult support and protection concerns including physical and sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and financial harm; initial and subsequent investigations; case conferences; adult protection plans; and the use of removal orders and banning orders.
3. Leadership and governance – evaluating the leadership and governance for adult support and protection exercised by senior leaders and managers, the adult protection committee, the chief officers group and the chief social work officer.
The thematic inspection included detailed findings and recommendations for improvement in each of the six areas. Additionally, the inspection itself developed a quality improvement framework and tools to support local partnerships to evaluate their own work. The thematic inspection also recommended that the findings be used to inform developments in ASP in:
- Scottish Government
- All other adult protection partnerships in Scotland
- The wider health and social care sector
- Police Scotland.
The Scottish Government reviewed the findings and recommendations of the thematic inspection in July 2018 when the report was published. Evidence in the inspection that Scotland has made good progress in 10 years to develop awareness of adult protection, create and train the workforce and put effective governance systems in place was welcomed by the Scottish Government. It is of note that the inspection found that the results of this progress are that many adults at risk of harm are safe, protected and supported.
The Scottish Government also noted the finding that three of the local partnerships were assessed as adequate or weak for some of the indicators. This raised concerns about the overall consistency and assurance of ASP across Scotland. The Cabinet Secretary for Health subsequently asked Scottish Government policy officials to advise on substantive issues in ASP where further work is required to ensure a level of assurance. This finding, alongside all of the improvement work already underway, provided the impetus for the development of the current ASP Improvement Plan.