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The adult protection conference: process

Frequency

A number of conferences can be held during the process, but one will always be carried out to conclude the process following an investigation. There are no agreed timescales for when a conference should be held, but they must add value to the process and allow the individual to be engaged in the process. As such, conferences should be held as soon as possible after the conclusion of the investigation, and in cases where the investigation is lengthy and complex, then more than one adult protection conference may be required and should be convened with the agreement of the adult at risk.

Agency reports

Each agency invited to attend the conference should provide to the chair, 2 working days in advance a written report, which summarises:

All reports should distinguish between what is fact, observation, allegation or opinion. Any professional opinion must have supporting evidence.

Any particularly sensitive or confidential information should be drawn to the attention of the chair prior to the conference.

In order to maintain the focus at conference on analysis and decision-making, practitioners and the adult at risk should have sight of reports prior to the conference. This means that practitioners can present the key points to conference in a report summary.

Pointers for Practice: Preparing Reports for Safeguarding Meetings

Sharing reports with the adult at risk

Reports should be shared with the adult at risk prior to the conference, unless to do so would place them at further risk, i.e. perpetrator may have access to the report, may cause distress to the adult or is not in their best interests.

It is important that the adult at risk is aware of the content of any reports about them prior to conference. This enables them to:

The agenda

The agenda provides a framework for managing the conference.

The process can be divided into four stages:

Setting the scene:

Information-sharing from reports received including:

Assessing and making sense of the information to establish any further information required:

Decision-making:

Outcomes:

A lack of evidence for a criminal prosecution does not necessarily mean that action cannot be taken under civil proceedings (e.g. seeking an injunction) or disciplinary proceedings. The reason for this is that there is a lower test for burden of proof in civil proceedings. Discussions about this may happen at the conference.

Record of adult protection conference

Records should detail and evidence the discussion and conclusion of the conference.

The record should be sent to:

Where records are sent to a carer (whether with permission of the adult at risk or because it has been found to be in their best interests) the conference must agree what information can be shared about the person alleged to have caused harm.

There may be situations where sharing the record of the meeting with the adult at risk may place them at increased risk of abuse or neglect. For example, where an abuser may have access to the record and is likely to become abusive towards the adult at risk if they read the record. In these situations, practitioners should use their professional judgement and make arrangements that take account of those concerns. For example, the record might be shared verbally or in a safe environment.

Where there is information that cannot be shared, with the adult at risk (see above) the section of the record relating to that part of the meeting should be redacted.

Any reports available to the meeting should be recalled by the chair at the end of the meeting, and any exceptions to this must be agreed by the chair.