Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007: code of practice

The purpose of the refresh is to ensure adult support and protection guidance takes account of policy and practice developments since the Act was introduced in

2007, and thus bring the guidance up to date with current legislation and relevant changes in policy and legislation.


1. The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 (the Act) was implemented in 2008, at which time the Scottish Government published an Adult Support and Protection Code of Practice (which included a section on Adult Protection Committees) and also Guidance for Adult Protection Committees. A revised Code of Practice was published in 2014.

2. Since the implementation of the Act there have been a number of developments both within the overall context of Adult Support and Protection and in day-to-day practice that are not fully reflected in the Code of Practice, which was last revised in 2014, or in the Adult Protection Committee (APC) guidance.

3. There is now a growing appreciation that Adult Support and Protection can have direct relevance to a broader range of people than originally anticipated including some people who have addiction problems or who are homeless. It can also potentially apply to people who may be being placed at risk and having their human rights infringed through inappropriate arrangements for their care.

4. APCs are now firmly located within local public protection governance structures that in all areas include reporting arrangements to Chief Officer Groups, and then variously through Integration Authorities and/or Community Planning Partnerships, matters which are not reflected in the current Code of Practice or Guidance.

5. The Adult Support and Protection National Strategic Forum , chaired by the Minister for Mental Health, has recognised this changing landscape within which Adult Support and Protection now operates. It therefore agreed that this was an appropriate time to undertake a review of the Adult Support and Protection Code of Practice. It further agreed that similar work will be undertaken to revise the guidance for APCs.

6. The Code has been redrafted and refreshed after full consultation with members of the Strategic Forum and a range of other key stakeholders, and a number of national workshops have been held to help identify and refine key areas for amendment.

7. If there is one overarching theme to have come from this engagement process it is the need to continue to emphasise the message that Adult Support and Protection is everyone's business and that it involves support as well as protection.

8. This revised Code of Practice therefore seeks to strengthen the guidance given regarding inter-agency co-operation and related matters. It also seeks to clarify guidance regrading some adult protection processes and to achieve greater clarity in relation to capacity and consent as these terms apply to adult support and protection.

9. The Act requires that a Code of Practice be published containing guidance about the performance of functions under the Act by councils, their officers and health professionals, and these are therefore the primary audience for this Code. However some parts of the Act have specific relevance to the Police that councils, their officers and health professionals should be aware of, and these aspects are therefore included in the Code.

10. Other public bodies, and other agencies in the statutory, third and voluntary sectors will have a direct interest in the contents of this revised Code which should also inform their own internal procedures for adult support and protection.

What changes have been made to the Code of Practice?

11. A range of updating amendments have been made across many chapters

The substantive amendments are:

  • More detail about the three-point test
  • Clarification on capacity and consent
  • Emphasis on the duty to refer and co-operate in inquiries
  • Clarification regarding information sharing expectations
  • Clarification of relationship between inquiries and investigations
  • New sections on referrals and related matters
  • Further detail and clarification on visits and interviews
  • New chapter on assessing and managing risk including case reviews and large scale investigations
  • The sections on protection orders have been rationalised
  • The chapter on Adult Protection Committees has been removed and is now contained within the redrafted Guidance for Adult Protection Committees



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