55. Section 46 of the ASP Act states that:
The convener of an Adult Protection Committee must, as soon as practical after such date as the council may direct biennially-
(a) prepare a general report on the exercise of the Committee's functions during the 2 years ending on that date, and
(b) after securing the Committee's approval of the report, send a copy of it to-
(i) each of the public bodies and office-holders represented on the
Adult Protection Committee by virtue of section 43(4),
(ii) the Scottish Ministers,
(iii) the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland,
(iv) the Public Guardian,
(v) the Care Commission (where it not represented on the Committee), and
(vi) any other public body or office-holder as the Scottish Ministers may by order specify.
56. In practice the Scottish Government requested that the first Biennial Report should be submitted by the end of October 2010, two years after the implementation of the Act. Biennial reports have been submitted every two years thereafter.
57. Expectations for the content of the first report were set out in the Scottish Government's original guidance for APCs, which expected that the report would summarise the work of the APC, analyse achievements, identify current issues with services, practice and performance, and set out the required improvements and proposals for the APC programme for the next two year period.
58. In doing so it was expected that the report would analyse, review and comment on APC functions, and would therefore likely address:
- management information on activity, trends, inputs and outcomes in relation to the protection of adults at risk;
- details of support provided;
- the use of protection orders;
- public information;
- the management of services and staff;
- communication and cooperation between agencies;
- workforce issues; and
- progress with training.
This has broadly remained the same expectation for subsequent Biennial Reports, with amendments being made from time to time through deliberations between the National Convener's group, and National Adult Protection Coordinator and the Scottish Government.
59. The Biennial Reports are prepared by the independent convener who after approval by the APC is expected to submit it to the bodies named above. The report now serves two main functions, the first being to provide information to the bodies listed above. In practice submission of Biennial Reports has been limited to formal submission to the Scottish Government, and sharing amongst partners at a local level. Submission of reports to the Care Inspectorate, HIS or the Office of the Public Guardian has not become routine.
60. The other main function is to provide the means by which APCs reflect on past performance and identify areas (both locally and nationally) for improvement that are incorporated into development or business plans for the APC over the coming two years. In essence this requires the report to reflect a commitment to continuous improvement. As a reflection of this many APCs now produce reports every year with the intervening reports being for governance and accountability within their own areas. In such cases business plans become rolling programmes that are added to as new actions and improvements are identified.
61. At a local level the reports should be shared with members of Chief Officer Groups (COGs) and then other Boards as appropriate for the individual partnerships. Biennial Reports are frequently also used as the basis for more public facing information on adult protection work in the committee's area, and to provide a means to promote the work of adult support and protection across agencies.
62. Good practice dictates that this commitment by APCs to continuous improvement should be reflected in their Terms of Reference, and that all Biennial Reports should contain a Development or Business Plan for the next reporting period.
63. This guidance recognises that in conjunction with the statutory requirement for the submission of Biennial Reports, they provide maximum benefit to APCs and local partnerships themselves in reviewing their past work and planning their future work.
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