Practitioners are expected to report to the relevant local authority (social services) for both adults and children at risk. The relevant authority is the one in which the safeguarding concern is thought to have occurred. This may mean reporting to a local authority that is not in the same area as that in which the practitioner works.
If a practitioner is unsure which local authority to report to they should contact their local social services for advice.
Example: A man with learning disabilities, who is resident in one part of Wales is holidaying in a caravan park in another part of Wales. The man is taken to the local A&E with a fracture to the arm that occurred that day. The doctor suspects non-accidental injury and contacts the local social services in which the caravan park is placed. The doctor has a duty to report.
Local authorities should ensure effective arrangements are in place 24 hours a day seven days a week to allow other agencies, practitioners and members of the public to report concerns about a child or adult at risk of abuse that may require a response within and outside office hours.
The emergency duty team should be contacted out of office hours if, a decision is made by the practitioner and agency that a child or adult is at risk.
Practitioners working outside office hours should be aware of the circumstances under which the police should be called in a safeguarding emergency. (See below for more detail).
If a practitioner is unable to contact a member of the emergency duty team and believe an individual is at immediate risk of abuse and delay could increase this risk, they should contact the police.
Example: A home care worker visits individual with learning and physical disabilities on a Sunday morning to get them washed and dressed. The individual tells the worker a friend has been staying with them and has been sharing their bed and ‘making me do things’ they did not want to do. The ‘friend’ has gone out to get a paper and the individual says they do not want the friend to stay any longer. The worker has a duty to report.