It is important that the adult at risk’s attendance and participation is facilitated in line with their specific needs. A conference should support and as much as possible be steered by the adult at risk
It is essential that adults at risk are offered and supported by an independent advocate throughout the process.
Their views should be considered as to:
whether they wish to attend;
whether they wish to attend and bring someone else with them;
whether they wish to nominate someone to attend on their behalf and who this is.
It is important that practitioners recognise that attendance at conference alone is not participation.
When the adult at risk is present at the conference it may be difficult for them to express their feelings/views. The chair needs to ensure ways are identified to support them in doing this effectively.
Wherever possible the adult at risk should be involved in and assisted to participate in the conference and provide a steer for the development of the care and support protection plan. The adult at risk has the right to refuse to participate, and may also advise that no conference should take place. In such situations an outcome report and covering correspondence should be made available to them. In order to facilitate participation in the conference process the role of the conference chair and practitioner are critical.
The following should be considered:
the practitioner should explain the purpose of the conference, attendance and process to the adult at risk and seek their views as to how they would like to participate. this should taking into account their mental capacity at the time to make a decision about participation;
attendance should be facilitated by providing the opportunity to bring an advocate, friend or supporter;
account must be taken of the adult at risk’s language of choice, their preferred medium of communication or any other specific needs;
the meeting should be held at a venue which enables the adult at risk to participate fully;
the conference chair should meet with the adult at risk beforehand, in the conference room and before other people arrive, to ensure that they understand what will happen at the conference, how they can contribute and how they can complain, if they so wish;
the adult at risk should be given the choice of meeting with the chair and/or another practitioner who knows them best;
after the conference, the chair should offer the adult at risk an opportunity for immediate discussion and debriefing;
the key worker should follow this up with a visit;
if an adult at risk is not satisfied with the outcome of the conference, they should be given information and advice about Regional Safeguarding Board’s complaints procedures.
if the adult at risk prefers, they may choose to not attend and have their views reported via a representative or in an alternative communication.
If the adult at risk does not have capacity a best interest decision needs to be made as to who should represent their interests and provide feedback to the adult at risk.
If the adult at risk does not wish to attend the conference, they should:
be consulted beforehand about their views;
these should be shared at the meeting by a representative, advocate or key worker;
the reasons for their non-attendance should be recorded.
The meeting should decide and record:
who will feed back any decisions about the care, support and protection plan to the adult at risk if they do not attend;
who they can contact if they do not agree with the plan or wish to comment on it.
Family members should only be invited at the express wish of the adult at risk.
If the adult at risk does not have capacity to make that decision, it may be made in their best interests, or with the consent of an attorney or deputy.
The person alleged to have caused harm will not ordinarily be invited to attend the meeting. Any decision to do so should be made on a case by case basis and with the agreement of the adult at risk.
If the meeting decides there are actions to be taken regarding this person, it must also decide who will inform them of this and the reasons this decision has been taken. If the person alleged to have caused harm is a professional or volunteer, the employer will do this.