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Safeguarding adults - information for professionals

This page is for qualified professionals working in public, private and voluntary sectors have a duty of care to safeguard and protect adults at risk.

When professionals are observant and make early, positive interventions with individuals or families, it can make a huge difference and help prevent any situation from worsening.

Making Safeguarding personal

Since the Care Act 2014, there has been a move towards a person-centred approach with social care which aims to achieve the outcomes that people want.  

Practitioners are expected to take a flexible approach and work with the adult all the way through the enquiry and beyond where necessary. They must focus on the outcome the adult wants.

Organisations must avoid safeguarding arrangements that do not put people in control of their own lives, or that revert to a paternalistic and interventionist way of working.

Professional responsibilities

It is vital that professionals are vigilant on behalf of those unable to protect themselves.

No professional should assume that someone else will pass on information which they think may be critical to the safety and well-being of an adult at risk of abuse or neglect.

You must share any information with the Let's Talk Service by contacting 0191 424 6000 or email

Professionals should look beyond single incidents to identify patterns of harm, just as regulators do in understanding quality of care at home, in hospitals and care homes:

  1. All staff must keep accurate records, clearly stating what the facts are and what are the known opinions of professionals and others. It is vital that the views of the adult who is the subject of the concerns are sought and recorded.
  2. Staff should ensure they are familiar with the information-sharing protocols that exist between their organisation and others to ensure relevant information is always shared between professionals.
  3. Safeguarding enquiries must always be handled in a sensitive and skilled way to ensure distress to the individual is minimised.

Professional regulation

Staff governed by professional regulation should understand how their professional standards and requirements underpin their organisational roles to prevent, recognise and respond to abuse and neglect i.e. Nursing and Midwifery Council (nurses), Health and Care Professions Council (social workers). 

Professionals should also be aware of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and their roles and responsibilities in ensuring organisations do not employ individuals who pose a risk to vulnerable adults. 

Mental capacity

The requirement to apply the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in adult safeguarding enquiries challenges many professionals, particularly where it appears someone has capacity for making decisions that nevertheless results in them being abused or neglected.

Find further guidance on mental capacity

Reporting concerns

Find out about how to report abuse

If you report a concern, you should always hear back from the local authority. If you do not receive any feedback, it is your professional duty to follow up the referral by contacting the Let's Talk Team on 0191 424 6000

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