There are three outcomes to enquiries. These are referred to in Handling Individual Cases as ‘Determinations’. They are:
Determination 1: Immediate Protection. This occurs in circumstances when social services, the police, health or emergency services must act quickly to secure the adult at risk or other adults/children at risk immediate safety.
Determination 2: The adult is not at risk but may have care and support needs. The individual should be advised as they would for any other referral recognising the person may be signposted to other agencies or services if appropriate or may require an assessment.
Determination 3: Adult at risk and action to protect needed (see relevant section).
At this stage a decision may also be taken that no further action is required: the adult is not at risk and no unmet care and support needs have been identified.
Determining whether an adult at risk has been abused and/or neglected is not straightforward. A judgement may be required as to whether an act of omission or commission has resulted in abuse or neglect. In some cases, it is the repetition of minor actions or omissions that collectively will amount to abuse or neglect.
For example, a carer consistently forgets to ensure the adult at risk, who is bed-bound and has dementia, is provided with drinks and is drinking regularly.
When enquiries determine that the adult is deemed to be at risk and action is required to protect them, practitioners should ensure that multi agency discussion and planning takes place. This can be done through a strategy meeting/discussion.
The safeguarding process can be concluded at any stage when appropriate actions have been taken to safeguard the adult at risk.
For example, an adult at risk, with severe mobility problems, is being left in a chair overnight by her carer and is made to use incontinence pants. The stair lift is broken and the carer cannot manage to get the adult at risk upstairs to the toilet and to bed. During the enquiries repairs to the stair lift were arranged and carried out. In this although Determination 3 is appropriate, no further safeguarding intervention was required.
The conclusions and outcome of the enquiries must be recorded, including those cases that do not lead to further action.
The conclusions should be recorded in such a way that they are available to social services in the future, for example if a further report is made about abuse and/or neglect.
A record should be made by social services of the evaluation detailing:
The following should also be included:
the identity of the individual who reported the concern and the individual who took the decision to initiate the enquiry;
the identity of any other agencies or third sector organisations who are aware of or involved in working with the adult at risk;
the identity of the person or persons and, if relevant, the agency who conducted the enquiries;
information provided during the enquiries and by whom.
2. The Enquiry Process:
List of those who contributed information and summary of contribution;
Those interviewed during the enquiries and summary of what was learnt about the adult at risk’s care and support protection needs;
Any documentary evidence reviewed during the enquiries and information obtained.
Statement as to whether those who contributed believe that the person is or is not an adult at risk who has and/or is likely to continue experiencing abuse or neglect;
What action should be taken and by whom to ensure the adult at risk’s safety needs are met;
Evidence to support this conclusion;
Any needs for care and support under section 19 and 24 of the Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) 2014
Any possible future concerns that may arise and why.