Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007: guidance for General Practice

Revised guidance to reflect developments in policy, practice and legislation both in the overall context of adult support and protection and in day-to-day activity. It provides information and detail to support practical application of the 2007 Act for GPs and staff in General Practice.

The Referral Process

Adult protection referrals can be made in writing (to be submitted electronically) or over the phone to the council for the area in which the adult at risk currently is. For most ASP referrals, this will be to the council for the area where the adult is habitually resident (where they live). Prompt action is vital.

Relevant contact details can be found here: Find your local contact - Act Against Harm. If you are working out of office hours, your local procedures and contacts will advise you of the relevant out of hours procedure, e.g. the Duty Social Worker.

Referral forms (sometimes referred to as an "AP1") – or the electronic link to them – can be requested from your local adult services team in advance; the form can then be saved in a place convenient for future use.

Referral information requested, either on a form or over the phone, may include:

  • Details of the person completing the referral;
  • Details of the person subject to the referral, including name, date of birth, address;
  • The primary user group or client category of the patient, if known (e.g. learning disability, mental health, dementia, substance misuse, acquired brain injury, physical disability);
  • Any communication needs of the adult at risk;
  • Harm type(s) suspected;
  • Whether the adult at risk is aware of the referral;
  • Details of the concern, including as much information as possible about the incident(s), dates, alleged harmer(s), previous concerns, any safeguarding activity undertaken;
  • An overview of the "three-point criteria":

I. In your opinion, is the adult able to safeguard their own wellbeing, property, rights or other interests?

II. In your opinion, is the adult at risk of harm?

III. In your opinion, is the adult affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or physical or mental infirmity, making them more vulnerable to harm?

  • Confirmation of whether police have been contacted if a crime is suspected;
  • Any relevant relationships, proxy decision makers (guardian or Power of Attorney), and/or caring responsibilities of the adult.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and a referral should still be made if you believe that the criteria are met for referral, even if lacking some of the information noted above. It is not your responsibility to confirm that the adult meets the three-point criteria; it is enough that you believe them to meet the criteria to warrant an ASP referral. Any information that can be provided at the referral stage will assist the local authority in undertaking adult protection inquiries.

As part of the inquiry process, it is possible that you will be asked to assist the council making the inquiries.

If there is immediate danger to you or the adult at risk, do not hesitate to call 999. You can make a subsequent Adult Protection referral, if relevant.



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