Roles and responsibilities
The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 ('the Act') was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2007. 'The Act' was implemented in October 2008 and specified the powers and duties in relation to protecting adults at risk of harm.
Under 'the Act', local authorities (or those with delegated duties) have a statutory duty to make inquiries about the well-being, property or financial affairs of an individual if they know or believe that the person is an adult at risk and that they might need to intervene to take protective actions. 'The Act' provides powers available to council officers to carry out investigations as deemed appropriate for the purposes of inquiry into the circumstances of an adult in order to protect them from harm.
Sections 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 of 'the Act' place a duty on those agencies named that when they know or believe an adult is at risk of harm they must report the facts and circumstances of the case to the relevant council. Furthermore the agencies named must also co-operate with inquiries made by the council in relation to adults at risk of harm.
Section 42(1) of 'the Act' states that each local authority has a duty to establish a multi-agency Adult Protection Committee with the following functions:
(a) to keep under review the procedures and practices of the public bodies and office-holders to which this section applies which relate to the safeguarding of adults at risk present in the council's area, including, any such procedures and practices which involve co-operation between the council and other public bodies or office-holders.
(b) to give information or advice, or make proposals, to any public body and office-holder to which this section applies on the exercise of functions which relate to the safeguarding of adults at risk present in the council's area,
(c) to make, or assist in or encourage the making of, arrangements for improving the skills and knowledge of officers or employees of the public bodies and office-holders to which this section applies who have responsibilities relating to the safeguarding of adults at risk present in the council's area.
The conduct of Significant Case Reviews by the Adult Protection Committees under these functions will help to reduce harm to adults at risk by identifying areas for improvement and sharing learning.