Contributing to Safeguarding Discussions and Meetings
Scope of this chapter
This chapter is for the registered person and anyone else that represents the service during a safeguarding enquiry, as part of either a safeguarding discussion or a safeguarding meeting.
It explains the difference between a discussion and a meeting, the range of professionals and/or organisations that may be involved, the type of information you may need to provide and what to do if you disagree with decisions made.
Related Chapters and Guidance
Safeguarding discussions can happen at any point after raising a concern, and there can be several discussions throughout the enquiry process.
Discussions could take place in person, but are normally on the telephone or via email.
They are instigated by the Safeguarding Adults Manager (SAM) or the social worker leading the enquiry. The purpose is normally to gather specific information to support the enquiry or decision-making process.
A safeguarding meeting is more formal than a safeguarding discussion. It normally involves relevant parties sitting down together to share information and discuss the potential strategies to manage any ongoing risk of harm to the person. This could be face-to-face but could be a virtual meeting.
A safeguarding meeting can take place at any time but is mostly convened shortly after a concern has been raised and after the Safeguarding Adults Manager (SAM) or the social worker leading the enquiry has finished gathering all the information they need to conclude the enquiry.
The local authority will always be involved, as they are the lead organisation. The Safeguarding Adults Manager (SAM) will normally Chair a safeguarding meeting. They are responsible for the enquiry but may have also appointed a social worker to lead all or some of the information gathering process.
The other professionals and organisations involved in a safeguarding discussion or meeting will depend on the circumstances of the concern.
- If a crime may have been committed, the police will usually be present.
- If the concern relates to the neglect of a healthcare need, a relevant healthcare professional is normally involved, for example a GP, Community Nurse or a Dietician.
- If the person is under the care of a specialist, such as a Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist they could be involved.
- If the concerns relate to potential organisational abuse, the Care Quality Commission or the commissioning body may be present.
- If the person has an independent advocate (or is eligible for one under law) they will be present.
A service provider is normally only involved if the concern relates to the service, or the person is provided with significant levels of support from the service and staff will be involved in implementing any potential Safeguarding Plan that is developed.
Orian is a wheelchair user and supported for 1 hour a day in his own home because he is physically unable to shower without support. He goes to work 4 days a week at a local bank. A safeguarding concern has been raised because Orian was assaulted on his way home and his wallet was stolen. The service provider is not part of the enquiry.
Orian is a wheelchair user and supported for 1 hour a day in his own home because he is physically unable to shower without support. He goes to work 4 days a week at a local bank. A safeguarding concern has been raised because, after being admitted to hospital with sickness nursing staff discovered a large pressure area on his lower back that appeared untreated. The service provider is part of the enquiry as they could be either at fault and/or part of the solution moving forward.
You should always endeavour to seek consent from the person affected by the abuse or neglect before sharing personal information about them. You will need to explain to them that you are going to be having a discussion or attending a meeting, the type of information you are likely to be sharing, who you will be sharing it with and why it is beneficial to share the information. The person can then make a decision about providing consent for you to do so.
If it is not possible to seek consent beforehand, you should only share the information that you feel it is necessary to share at that point in time in order to safeguard the person (or another vulnerable adult or child) from any current risk of serious harm. Otherwise, you should explain to the local authority that there may be other beneficial information, but you need to seek consent from the person before sharing it.
If the person refuses to give consent to their information being shared, you should still share the information that you feel it is necessary to share in order to safeguard them (or another vulnerable adult or child) from any current risk of serious harm. You should explain to the person what information has been shared, why, and how they can make a complaint should they wish to do so.
If the person lacks capacity to provide consent, a best interests decision will need to be made about sharing the information. In most cases, it will normally be in a person’s best interests to share information requested as part of a safeguarding enquiry.
For further information see:
Confidentiality and Information Sharing
The information that you will be asked to provide will vary based on the circumstances of the concern.
Examples of the things it could include are:
- Any views and wishes expressed by the person about the outcome, including anything they may have said about what they do and do not want to happen
- Observations of the person’s behaviour since the concern was raised, or since a risk strategy was implemented
- Records of notes made by staff
- Risk assessments completed by the service
- The person’s individual care or support plan
- Progress of any internal enquiries
- Your views about whether a risk strategy is working or not working
- Your views about what should happen and not happen
- Your views about the impact that different options may have on the person
Information should be provided in the format requested.
Existing service documentation should be provided as a photocopy of the original, for example if a copy of the individual care or support plan is requested.
Do not alter documents for any reason, even if they have been poorly completed. It can be seen as tampering with evidence.
Do not create a document that does not exist or has been lost. Be honest, regardless of what the consequences may be.
If you are asked to write a report this should be legible and clear. If a physical copy is to be provided, where available headed paper should be used.
All documents sent by email should be sent securely.
From time to time there will no doubt be disagreements about what may constitute the best course of action.
If someone challenges your view you should be willing to reconsider your position, although you should only change it if you feel there is evidence to support this move.
Before raising concerns about the views of others, make sure that your challenge is evidence-based, do not let emotion get the better of you. If your disagreement is valid, you should respectfully challenge others and they should also be willing to reconsider any need to change their position.
There may also be a Dispute Resolution Process that can be instigated by the Safeguarding Adults Manager (SAM).
Ultimately, the local authority is the decision-maker in the safeguarding process. As such, the SAM will make any final decisions, having considered objectively all the evidence and viewpoints presented.
If you remain dissatisfied, you can discuss your concerns in private with the SAM or make a formal complaint to the local authority.
Last Updated: September 12, 2022