Social services determine whether their staff or another agency undertake the s126 enquiries. These enquiries can be delegated to another agency if appropriate. If another agency, or particular practitioner from another agency is identified, the rationale for this should be explicit and recorded.
The duty to determine the outcome of the s126 enquiries remain with social services even where another agency is carrying out these enquiries. Therefore, social services should have oversight of the case and remain the single point of contact. If the enquiries are undertaken by another agency, then social services should monitor progress and ensure compliance with timescales to prevent delay.
The seven working day timescale for completion of the enquiry process is not changed when another agency undertakes the evaluation on behalf of social services.
Relevant partners asked to undertake enquiries on behalf of social services must comply with such requests unless to do so is incompatible with their own duties. There may be circumstances where others could contribute, for example, a third sector or independent organisation supporting the person.
Where requested to do so practitioners from across other agencies have a duty to co-operate and provide information under section 164 of the Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) 2014
They must comply with the request unless the person considers that doing so would be incompatible with the person’s own duties. Relevant partners must share information as part of exercising their safeguarding duties. This includes police, local authorities, health services, offender service.
Practitioners should bear in mind:
the safety of the adult at risk takes precedence over the need to maintain professional confidentiality;
it is the responsibility of each agency or individual practitioner to contribute all the relevant information, including concerns and strengths, when requested to do so and not be selective.
If the adult at risk and family have lived abroad, information should be sought from relevant agencies. Professionals from agencies such as health, social services or police should request this information from their equivalent agencies in the country/countries in which the adult at risk has lived. Information about who to contact can be sought via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the appropriate Embassy or Consulate. Information may also be available from ‘International Social Services’.