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The Wales Safeguarding Procedures for children and adults at risk of abuse and neglect

These are the national Wales Safeguarding Procedures. They detail the essential roles and responsibilities for practitioners to ensure that they safeguard children and adults who are at risk of abuse and neglect. You can find out more about the vision and the aims of the procedures here.

What they are for

The Procedures helps practitioners apply the legislation and statutory guidance Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 and (Section 7 Volumes 5 and 6 on handling individual cases) to practice.

Throughout the procedures you will find ‘pointers for practice’. Whilst the Procedures tell you what to do, the pointers for practice provide information as to how to complete the task. The pointers for practice draw on the latest research and practice developments.

Who they are for

These procedures are intended to guide safeguarding practice for all those employed in the statutory, third (voluntary) and private sector in health, social care, education, police, justice and other services. They are applicable for all practitioners and managers working in Wales - whether employed by a devolved or non-devolved agency.

Why we need them

The procedures are designed to standardise practice across all of Wales and between agencies. The development of the procedures was a seven-stage process. Every agency had the opportunity to be involved and contribute their practice experience and research expertise.

Over the last twenty years, however, there has been a growing awareness amongst practitioners, managers and policymakers of the common systems and processes required to protect both children and adults at risk of abuse and neglect.

This awareness is reflected in the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 and accompanying Section 7 Guidance Volumes 5 and 6 on handling individual cases. Whether safeguarding an adult at risk from abuse or neglect or protecting children from abuse, neglect and harm, the procedures are based on the same principles which reflect the principles underpinning the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014.

The procedures are updated regularly in line with changes to legislation, guidance and practice developments.

How to use the procedures

Whilst recognising commonalities in processes between safeguarding children and protecting adults at risk from abuse and neglect, there are some differences in legislation. Therefore, the procedures are separated into those relating to safeguarding children and those for adults at risk of abuse and neglect.

The procedures have been further divided into sections. Each section details the roles and responsibilities of practitioners relating to an aspect of the safeguarding process, as it relates to adults at risk of abuse and neglect or safeguarding children. Each section also includes relevant pointers for practice.

The glossary

Effective safeguarding practice requires a shared understanding of terms frequently used when identifying, assessing and intervening whether a child or adult is at risk of abuse or neglect. We’ve included a glossary to ensure that every practitioner is using the same term in the same way irrespective of discipline or agency. Each term used in the procedures has a quick link to a full explanation.

Development of the procedures

A project team led by Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Regional Safeguarding Board, together with Emeritus Professor Jan Horwath have developed these Safeguarding Procedures. The purpose was to ensure the procedures reflect the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and Handling Individual Cases (Vol.6).

There was representation from each of the Regional Safeguarding Boards on the Project Board. Practitioners from Regional Safeguarding Boards contributed in developing the Procedures as members of Development Groups.

The aims

The Wales Safeguarding Procedures seek to:

Guiding principles

Due regard should be given to factors that need to be considered throughout each and every section.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 – ensuring that the spirit of the Act is embedded within practice for all adults at risk.

Individuals must feel that they are an equal partner in their relationship with professionals. Code of Practice under Part 10 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 sets out the functions in relation to how local authorities in partnership with the individual, must reach a judgement on how advocacy could support individuals to meet their personal outcomes.

The European Convention of Human Rights, particularly Articles 2,3,5,6 and 8.

The United Nations Principles of Older Persons.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Welsh Language Standards and the “More than Just Words” Framework.

Legislation and guidance

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 came into force on 6 April 2016. The Act provides the legal framework for improving the well-being of people who need care and support. The Act is made up of 11 Parts with Part 7 relating to Safeguarding specifically. It is this legislation that provides the framework for the Wales Safeguarding Procedures.

Accompanying the Act, the Welsh Government has published Working Together to Safeguard People. This has been issued under s.131 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014; Working Together to Safeguard People: Volume 6 Handling Individual Cases to protect adults at risk.

The Wales Safeguarding Procedures have been designed to enable frontline practitioners and their managers apply the legislative requirements and expectations of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The aim is to improve person-centred outcomes for adults at risk of abuse and neglect. The procedures also recognise other relevant legislation, guidance and protocols. For example, the Domestic Abuse (Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015.

Throughout the Procedures, there are hyperlinks to relevant legislation and guidance.