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Legislation relating to safeguarding adults

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft’ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to summarise the key aspects of legislation relating to safeguarding and whistleblowing in adult care services in your management and leadership role.

Safeguarding is the protection of vulnerable adults from harm, abuse and neglect. Whistleblowing is the process of reporting concerns relating to bad practices or wrongdoing within the workplace.

Care Act 2014

The Statutory Guidance for the Care Act 2014 identified the ten types of abuse and neglect. For this unit, it will be worth you reading the whole safeguarding section of this guidance.

The Care Act 2014 identified six principles of safeguarding:

1. Empowerment – People being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and informed consent
2. Prevention – It is better to take action before harm occurs.
3. Proportionality -The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.
4. Protection – Support and representation for those in greatest need.
5. Partnership – Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.
6. Accountability – Accountability and transparency in safeguarding practice.

SOURCE: Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

Themes of the Care Act 2014 include person-centred care, empowerment, integrated working and a focus on wellbeing.

The Care Act also established Safeguarding Adult Boards (SABs) that are responsible for overseeing safeguarding in their local area and commissioning Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SARs), which investigate cases where safeguarding failed so that lessons can be learned.

Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Mental Capacity Act 2015 protects individuals that may not be able to make decisions for themselves. It legislates how mental capacity should be assessed and ensures that all reasonable actions are taken to empower individuals are able to make decisions for themselves.

Mental Health Act 1983

The Mental Health Act 1983 legislates for health professionals to detain individuals for treatment if there is a serious risk to their own safety or the safety of others. All individuals that are detained under the Mental Health Act are entitled to an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA).

Deprivation of Liberty (DoLS) & Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS)

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) is an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2015 that is used to restrict or restrain individuals if they are unable to consent to their care and is in their best interests. In April 2022, DoLS will be replaced with Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS)

Sexual Offences Act 2003

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 brought about more clarity around what constitutes a sexual criminal offence, including recognition that vulnerable individuals may not have the capacity to consent. It also makes it unlawful for anyone providing care or support services to have a sexual relationship with any individual that they provide care and support to, regardless of their capacity to consent.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 legislates for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Employers must perform a DBS check on all individuals that they employ that will have contact with children or vulnerable adults.

Counter-Terrorism & Security Act 2015

One of the aims of the Counter-Terrorism & Security Act 2015 is to safeguard and protect children and vulnerable adults from being drawn into extreme ideologies and radicalised. This puts a statutory responsibility on certain organisations (particularly those that work with children) to work in partnership to prevent radicalisation. This is part of the government PREVENT strategy.

Health & Social Care Act 2012

The Health & Social Care Act 2012 established the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC regulations for care providers, particularly Regulation 13, address safeguarding.

Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 aimed to tackle slavery, human trafficking, domestic servitude and forced labour. Vulnerable adults are a high-risk group for these crimes, so care workers should be trained in spotting the signs of modern slavery and knowing what to do if they have concerns.

Children & Families Act 2014

The Children & Families Act 2014 legislated for greater protection for vulnerable children. Although we may not work directly with children, we still have a professional responsibility to ensure that any children we encounter as part of our work are protected.

Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 ensures that anyone that reports genuine concerns about poor or unsafe practices in the workplace is protected from reprisals. All care organisations must have a whistle-blowing policy.

Assessment Criteria

Learners summarise key aspects of legislation, which applies to safeguarding and whistleblowing in adult care services in their management and leadership role.

Examples of relevant legal requirements and provisions:

  • Care Act 2014
  • regulations relating to mental capacity
  • regulations relating to mental health
  • regulations relating to LPS/Dols
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups 2006
  • Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015
  • Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
  • Health and Social Care Act 2012
  • Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • Children and Families Act 2014
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