If the s126 enquiries conclude that social services have reasonable cause to suspect that an adult is at risk of abuse, a strategy discussion/ meeting by telephone, video-conferencing or face-to face should take place. The purpose is to determine the action to be taken to ensure the safety, care and support needs of the adult at risk are met. The lead co-ordinator is responsible for making this decision and for keeping a record.
N.B. Strategy meetings and strategy discussions are interchangeable terms, they can be held as often and for as long as necessary.
The following circumstances are examples of times when a strategy discussion/ meeting should be organised. These include suspected:
sexual abuse of an adult at risk;
female genital mutilation;
trafficking and/or slavery;
alleged abuse by a person in a position of trust;
alleged abuse by a professional/ staff member in their professional or private capacity;
an incident of significant or repeated domestic abuse;
multi agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) have identified potential risk to an adult at risk from a prisoner being released from custody.
This is not an exhaustive list.
The strategy discussion/meeting is a forum to:
ensure any interim protection plan originating from screening and the initial evaluation is in place and is protecting the adult at risk from abuse and neglect;
consider the level of identified risk;
specify respective roles and responsibilities; specific tasks required; issues of co-operation; communication and the best use of skills, expertise and resources;
consider the wishes of the adult at risk and if they do not have the mental capacity those of their representative
ensure any assessments are completed;
decide on a course of action.
More than one strategy meeting/discussion may be appropriate depending on the circumstances of the case, for example to:
Identify additional information that needs gathering;
Review actions considering emerging information and/or evidence;
Give due regard to the complexity of the case;
Consider actions and desired outcomes.
Every discussion/meeting must review the abuse and/or neglect concerns to the adult at risk and other adults or children at risk and agree actions to manage this.
As long as there is a process of identifying if there is a need of protection and steps for agreeing what needs to be done to keep the person safe, the mechanisms used can be a strategy meeting or discussion. However, there has to be a mechanism to feedback to the adult.
For further information on the responsibilities for members of the strategy group to deliver the care and support protection plan see planning responsibilities of members of the strategy meeting (the strategy group).