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.

Giving information or advice and making proposals

32. The main forum for addressing the matters outlined in this section will be at the regular meetings of the Chief Officers for the council area. These are generally held quarterly with a standing item for report(s) on Adult Protection activity and issues. This is the opportunity for matters identified by APCs to be brought to the attention of Chief Officers.

33. The Biennial Reports and any routine interim overview reports will also be programmed into Chief Officer Group agendas and provide another forum for these matters.

34. The Act requires APCs to give information or advice, or make proposals to its statutory members on the safeguarding of adults at risk present in the council area(s). APCs do not have executive authority but in order meet this requirement they will need expertise in service standards as they apply to adult support and protection, and must be well informed about local professional practice and performance management.

35. The information advice and proposals duties will be undertaken based on the regular collection and analysis of activity and performance data, including the measurement of outcomes. APCs will therefore need to consider what information systems will have to be in place, what form of regular audit is needed, and what additional research would be helpful. Over time, APCs will be able to consider practice and performance trends from the information available.

36. The Scottish Government has established a data set that councils are required to report on annually. In addition to this APCs will have identified other activity information that they wish to collect. These data sets will provide valuable information determining trends and priorities for attention, as well as for the allocation of resources.

37. This information will be shared though APCs with the statutory bodies and will provide a potential source for advice to them in terms of protecting adult at risk of harm.

38. APCs have a strategic and monitoring function rather than an operational role and therefore routine case review under the auspices of the committee would not be appropriate. Planned audit programmes will however be an invaluable source of information on service standards and areas for improvement that can result in advice and proposals for change to the statutory bodies. Additionally, learning from case reviews, both internally and from elsewhere nationally, is an important way in which APCs can identify areas for improvement and increase the skills and knowledge of staff.

Audit activity

39. A regular programme of multi-agency audit and review should be part of the routine work of APCs, and included in this should be an awareness of any internal audit work that may be undertaken on a single agency basis. Multi-agency audits are most productive when staff from across agencies are engaged in auditing their own and other agency files. This requires good preparation and inter-agency agreement to the approach.

Case reviews

40. While not referenced in the Act, it is now accepted practice across all APCs that case reviews are commissioned by APCs across Scotland. The purpose of such reviews is to gain a multi-agency understanding of the circumstances of a particular case and to identify what can be learnt in order to best inform future policy, practice and procedure.

41. The Scottish Government published the Adult protection significant case reviews: interim framework in November 2019. This places the responsibility for commissioning and overseeing such reviews with Adult Protection Committees, on behalf of the Chief Officer's Group. It confirms that APCs are responsible for agreeing recommendations within case reviews and for overseeing any improvement plans that may follow. These matters should be reported to the local Chief Officer Group (or equivalent) for approval and once approved reports of case reviews should be submitted to the Care Inspectorate . As of 1 October 2020 the Care Inspectorate acts as the central collection point for all case reviews. They will support practice development through disseminating the learning from these.

42. Recommendations arising out of case reviews can have implications for all the statutory members of the APC (and for other agencies including care providers). In this regard through conducting their own case reviews, reflecting on the learning from other reviews, and identifying any recommendations for implementation at a local level, APCs are carrying out their function to give advice or make proposals to public bodies.

Large Scale Investigations

43. A Large Scale Investigation (LSI) may be required where there is reason to believe that adults who are residents of a care home, supported accommodation, an NHS hospital or other facility, or who receive services in their own home may be at risk of harm due to another resident, a member of staff, some failing or deficit in the management regime, or in the environment of the establishment or service. In such circumstances this means that there is a belief that a particular service may be placing all its residents or service users at risk of harm.

44. The Act makes no reference to LSIs, but these have become increasingly prevalent across Scotland since the implementation of the Act. Many partnerships have their own procedures, sometimes across a number of partnerships (e.g. within one Health Board area). LSIs frequently involve other agencies including the Care Inspectorate, the NHS and the police, but there are no nationally agreed definitions of what warrants an LSI, or guidance for conducting LSIs or for governance arrangements locally. The updated Code of Practice provides some broad guidance for consideration by partnerships in developing their LSI procedures.

45. Senior managers in partnerships are responsible for initiating and overseeing LSIs. They should keep Adult Protection Committees regularly appraised of the progress of any LSIs that may be underway, and provide the Committee with a final report once the LSI is concluded. This will ensure that any necessary actions arising out of the LSI relating to the duties of Adult Protection Committees can be noted and necessary responses actioned. The outcome of LSIs should be tabled Chief Officer Groups for their information.

Public information

46. Whilst not directly referenced in the Act it is now an accepted part of the role of APCs to ensure that there are strategies in place to ensure that they maintain an overview of levels of knowledge and confidence in child protection systems within their area within partner agencies and in public awareness of adult support and protection in the wider community.



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