Seeking agency advice and initial discussions with social services
The need to seek advice should never delay any emergency action needed to protect an adult.
If unsure whether there is a risk. Any practitioner who is hesitant
or is unsure as to whether an adult is at risk should seek advice,
as outlined below, rather than wait for further evidence to confirm
or refute these concerns.
Always try and seek advice from within own agency unless this would
mean undue delay and places the adult in danger
The designated safeguarding person (DSP) is the identified person within the organisation who:
- is available to discuss safeguarding concerns;
- should be consulted, when possible, as to whether to raise a
safeguarding concern with the local authority;
- will manage any immediate actions required to ensure the individual
at risk is safe from abuse;
All practitioners should know who to contact in their agency for advice and they should not hesitate to discuss their concerns no matter how insignificant they may appear.
Whilst every effort should be made to seek advice from the designated safeguarding person, a practitioner may need to contact social services directly, particularly where:
- contacting the designated safeguarding person would result in undue
delay and thereby places someone at risk;
- the designated safeguarding person has been contacted and they have
not taken action and the practitioner thinks it is necessary;
- the concern relates to the designated safeguarding person and there
is no other appropriate alternative manager to contact.
Contacting social services for guidance
If, after seeking advice in one’s own agency, there is uncertainty as to whether to report concerns, these can always be discussed with social services who will provide guidance as to what to do next.
When seeking guidance from social services, it is important to recognise:
- the responsibility to decide whether to make a report remains with
- seeking advice does not of itself constitute a report;
- it is the responsibility of the referrer to make clear that they want
to make a report;
- all telephone reports should be followed up in writing within 24
The need to seek advice should never delay any emergency action needed to protect an adult believed to be at risk.
Outcomes of agency and social services initial discussions
The outcome of any initial discussion may be:
- a report to social services regarding concerns that the adult is at
- a referral to social services for an assessment of potential care and
- that the adult is not at risk of abuse and consideration should be
given to provision either from the agency itself or other agencies;
- no further action is necessary other than to record concerns and
outcomes of the discussions.
Recording initial discussions
Any discussion about an adult at risk - both those that occurred within the agency and those with social services - should be recorded in writing. The recording should include:
- the date, time and names of those who took part in the discussion;
- the information-shared and the sources;
- the rationale for the decision made, including decisions to take no
- what actions will be undertaken and by whom.
Any practitioner with concerns about an individual should document their concerns, whether or not further action is taken.