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Strategy meetings/ discussions: key considerations

Timescales

A strategy discussion/meeting usually precedes any action to protect. It must take place within 7 working days of the conclusion of the s126 enquiries, but if immediate action is necessary, to protect the adult at risk and/or other adults at risk or children, it should precede this action and be undertaken in a manner which does not delay the necessary action. Good practice, however, would advise that the first strategy discussion/meeting should happen as soon as is practically possible especially where a criminal offence is suspected

For example: a young woman with a learning disability has alleged sexual assault by a family member. The opinion of the professionals is that an urgent medical examination is required, and the woman is able to consent to this. Arrangements are made to support the woman to attend the Sexual Abuse Referral Centre that day to undertake a police interview and medical examination to gather and secure evidence.

Person-Centred Strategy Discussions/ Meetings

Adults at risk have the right to give or withhold their consent to all aspects of their possible involvement in adult safeguarding unless it has been assessed that they do not have the mental capacity to make these decisions.

If an adult at risk does not have the mental capacity to make this decision, a best interest decision must be made that reflects the best interests of the person and the wider public interest.

The strategy discussion/meeting must check if the adult at risk has consented to the s126 enquiries or if there are grounds for overriding a decision to withhold consent. This may require direct contact to be arranged with the adult at risk to determine their wishes.

Strategy discussions/meetings are professional meetings. However, a decision should be made as to who will liaise with the adult at risk and their family about process and decisions reached.

It is crucial that the enquiries or investigations are fair and objective and any decisions about safeguarding arrangements are made in partnership with the adult at risk. To achieve this:

Participation in strategy discussion/ meetings

When deciding who should be involved in strategy meetings and discussions practitioners should use their professional judgement, based on the information gained to date.

At a minimum the following should be included:

The engagement of other practitioners will depend on the individual nature of the case but may include:

The staff involved in the discussion should be authorised to make decisions on behalf of their agency.

Chairing

The strategy discussion/meeting should be chaired the lead/delegated lead co-ordinator who has the authority and expertise to chair these discussions/meetings.

The chair should ensure:

The discussion/meeting should be held in line with national and local procedures.

The chair decides who will receive a record of the discussion/meeting.

The chair should identify who will participate in further assessments and investigations. For example, tissue viability nurses, police.

The agenda

The practitioners participating in the strategy discussion should consider:

1. The adult at risk

2. Evidential issues

3. Perpetrator issues

4. Actions

5. Other issues

This requires those engaged to:

Recording the strategy discussion/ meeting and decisions

A record must be taken of the strategy discussion/meeting and saved with the case notes. This recording as a minimum should include:

Any information shared, all decisions reached, and the basis for those decisions, must be clearly recorded and circulated within one working day to all parties relevant to the discussion.