The Adult Support And Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 part 1: guidance for adult protection committees

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.


64. Since the implementation of the Act the governance arrangements for public protection at a local level have become much more strongly established. APCs are now firmly located within these 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.

65. Chief Officer Groups (COGs) comprise the council Chief Executive, the NHS Chief Executive (or nominee) and a representative of Police Scotland (usually the Divisional Commander). In addition, there are senior officers from a range of agencies and organisations including the Chief Social Work Officer who will advise and assist local authorities and their partners in relation to governance and fulfilment of statutory responsibilities including adult protection. The Convener of Adult and Child Protection Committees will also be members. Many COGs also include representatives from MAPPA, violence against women, community safety and other areas.

Adult Protection Committees and Chief Officer Groups

66. In 2019 the Scottish Government published updated guidance Protecting Children and Young People, Child Protection Committee and Chief Officer Responsibilities. This concentrated on matters to do with child protection but has direct relevance to adult protection. This section of the Guidance for APCs therefore reflects the content of this document as it applies to Adult Support and Protection.

67. Working within the accountability structures of their respective organisations, members of the Chief Officers Group in each local authority area must work collectively to identify and commission inter-agency activity for public protection. Included in this within all partnerships is the protection of adults at risk of harm. Chief Officers are ultimately responsible and accountable for improving the experience of and outcomes for adults who may need protection. The local APC is the statutorily mandated inter-agency mechanism to take forward this work.

68. The Act does not specifically reference governance matters other than to require that each council must establish an APC, must appoint an independent convener who must not be an officer or member of the council, and must also appoint all other members of the APC.

69. Current practice and a commitment to strong inter-agency working has moved beyond these expectations in relation to processes for appointing conveners, and the independence of the convener. Good governance now expects that:

  • Conveners should be appointed after an open recruitment process involving an interview with the three Chief Officers or their nominees
  • Conveners should not be an officer or member of the council and should also be independent of the NHS and Police Scotland
  • Conveners should be appointed for fixed terms, with the option for renewal if agreed by Chief Officers, and based on ongoing appraisal, at a frequency to be determined locally.
  • The appointment of other members to APCs can be delegated to the convener and the APC

70. Unlike in Child Protection, APCs are a statutory requirement, and the convener is responsible for, among other things, producing a Biennial Report that after approval by the APC, should be submitted to the Scottish Government and other named bodies. The general practice now is that the report is also available to members of the Chief Officers Group in advance of submission.

71. Good governance now requires that:

  • After approval by the APC, Biennial Reports should be shared with Chief Officers, and any agreed amendments made prior to final submission.

Case reviews and large-scale investigations

72. Paragraphs 43 – 48 above make reference to case reviews and large-scale investigations, and highlight the role of Chief Officers in these. Minimally the APC should report initial case reviews to Chief Officer Groups, and recommendations from significant case reviews should be agreed between the APC and the COG. The APC should notify the COG of the outcome of large scale investigations.



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