The legislative framework for safeguarding vulnerable adults

Table of Contents

Explain the legislative framework for safeguarding vulnerable adults Care Act 2014 Statutory Guidance (Department of Health, 2014)

There is an explicit legal framework on how the adult and social care system and local authorities should protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect. This is found within the Care Act 2014 and also provides guidance on how to operate a multi-agency local adult safeguarding system that work towards the prevention of abuse and neglect and stop it quickly when it eventually happens. The overriding focus of the Care Act is the promotion of personal dignity, including treating individuals with respect, maintaining physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing, protection from abuse and neglect. The Care Act seeks to give individuals control over their day-to-day life, which includes the power to make choices in areas like education, training, job or recreation, social and economic well-being, maintaining, family, domestic and personal relationships, where to live and areas where the individuas can contribution to society (Department of Health, 2014)Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA)The MCA is intended to protect and return control to those vulnerable people who are said to lack capacity to make decisions.

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 covers the activities of everyone involved in the care, treatment and support of citizens aged 16 and over living in England and Wales who are not fit enough to make all or some key decisions on their own.The MCA also supports those who have capacity and choose to plan for their future particularly, when they will now have the capacity to make decisions – this applies to everyone in the general population who is over the age of 18.Lacking capacity should not always be seen as permanent incapability as a person who lacks capacity to make a decision today, might be able to make decisions at a later date.Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2015 Regulation 20 Duty Of Candour: This places a duty on all professionals and healthcare operatives to be open and honest with clients or service users in the event of things going wrong during treatment or care, or when things have the potential to cause, harm or distress.They are expected to apologise to the service user or patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family)Sexual Offences Act 2003The Sexual Offences Act (SOA) 2003 is an Act of United Kingdom parliament fashioned to modernise the older sexual offences laws by barring any sort of sexual exploitation or activity between a support worker and a person who is unable to make decisions while the relationship of care continues.

The law applies to all health professionals including nurses, doctors, support workers in various care homes whether they undertake paid or unpaid duties. The offences in the Act relating to care workers apply whether or not the victim appears to consent, and whether or not they have the legal capacity to consent.This does not prevent care workers from supporting service users with daily personal care needs, as long as the behaviour is not intended to be sexual. The Act is not intended to interfere with the right of people with a mental disorder who have the capacity to consent to engage in sexual activity with anyone who is not in a caring relationship with them.

The SOA also attempts to make the prosecution of rape easier by clarifying the meaning of consent. Section 74 of the Act provides that someone consents to a sexual act if, and only if, he or she agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and the Protection of Freedoms BillThis Act was passed in 2006 to protect children and vulnerable adult from any risk of harm by preventing people deemed unsuitable from having access to them through their employment. Following this Act, the Independent Safeguarding Authority was put in place. The Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority was combined and then named as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). It is therefore the legal responsibility of every Organisations involved in the provision of staff or support workers to vulnerable people to make necessary checks relevant to the Act.An amendment to the SGVA 2006 was provided by The Protection of Freedoms Bill (Chapter 1 of Part 5) thus keeping the barring role while the registration and monitoring options are discarded. Ill treatment or wilful neglectUnder the Mental Health Act (MHA 1983), Section 127 makes it an offence for staff supporting persons with mental disorders to be ill-treated or neglected. There were two additional criminal offences captured within the MCA 2005 (s44), namely, ill-treatment or wilful neglect of persons that lack capacity to make relevant decisions.

The law prescribes a maximum of five year for persons tried and found guilty. This covers all the people that lack capacity in various care and hospital settings. This also covers the persons with Learning Disabilities, Dementia and acquired brain injury.A proven failure to act but not an actual deliberate act to commit harm can be described as Wilful neglect. Some failure by staff to administer a service users medication or staff failing to take a sick person to the hospital can all come under wilful neglect. A wilful neglect can also be a situation where a service user is left all through the day in a wheel chair and thereby have pressure sores.Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998It is very essential that people are free to report concerns about unsafe practices when they discover them, there is a need for such people to be protected from victimisation whenever they speak up against such ills within their work place. It order to protect and preserve the dignity is to ensure that every workplace encourages a robust whistle-blowing policy that protects the blower under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) 1998. Equality Act 2010The Equality Act 2010 is a single Act which replace previous anti-discrimination laws.

It make it easier for people to be protected against discrimination in the wider society.It sets unambiguous ways in which people can not be treated, it also offers a classification of protected characteristics in which disability is one out of many.1.4 -Evaluate how serious case reviews or inquiries have influenced quality assurance, regulation and inspection relating to the safeguarding of vulnerable adultsSerious case review are constituted after the death of a vulnerable adult or child, whenever an abuse or neglect is suspected. It is meant to provide an insight into how the harm or death has occurred and recommend plans or legislations that could be put in place to prevent future occurrence. It may also be used to highlight the practices of some organisations that are collaborating to reduce or prevent neglect or abuse of vulnerable adults.

A Serious Case Review (SCR) is a locally conducted multi-agency review in circumstances where an adult or child has been abused or neglected, resulting in serious harm or death and there is cause for concern as to the way in which the relevant authority or persons have worked together to safeguard the adult or child have conducted themselves.Whenever there is a reported case of abuse or neglect that has resulted in the death of a vulnerable adult, a serious case review by a locally constituted multi agency team will review all the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident.In a view to drive up safe practices in adult and social care, all professionals working with vulnerable persons seek to constantly learn from mistakes or serious incidents; or even ‘near misses’There are a lot of serious case reviews that have been used to reform the Social Care sector within the United Kingdom.

Out of the many cases is the Death of ChrisThis Serious Case Review (SCR) was commissioned by Newham Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB) after the unfortunate death of Chris who was fourteen years of age as at the time he was shot at close range in Newham. Chris was taken to the Royal London Hospital where his family all sat around him. Chris died as soon as his life support was turned off.In this unfortunate set of events leading to the death of Chris, there were so many factors that indicated his subjection to the influence of gangs such as illegal supply of drugs, threat of criminal exploitation and violence.Many professionals had contact with Chris, most of them knew that he was at a great risk of harm, It was now for the SCR to look at the multi-agency intervention, risks assessment and planning, to see what was done well, what could have been better done better to safeguard and protect Chris and now recommend actions that could be put in place to prevent future occurrence.

At the end of the report, recommendations were made1. That the board should explore, through professional development initiatives, discussion, debate and fashion out, various methods of enhancing professional competency in assessment tools across all services, including frequent sharing of good practices as well as peer led audits. Emphasis were also made on the importance of understanding early years and development in adolescent safeguarding.Engaging all young persons and their immediate families in their assessment and at the point of making decisions, ensuring their wishes are factored in and, voice heard.2. It was also recommended that a full review of the Multiagency Risk and Vulnerability Panel (MRVP) A full review was recommended to be undertaken as soon as practicable, to examine the efficacy of the MRVP, including an examination of independently selected cases and the outcomes that was achieved via MRVP actions.3. A recommendation was also made to consider the creation of a contextual safeguarding board, this is with a view to develop strategies that will re-align work with young people who are at risks of child criminal exploitation. An approach towards appreciating, understanding and yielding to the experiences of significant harm by young people, beyond their families is Contextual Safeguarding.Government have over the years seen the need to address salient issues relating to vulnerable persons in care as a result of various outcomes from serious cases that were reported in different research.There were a set of new directives in the ‘White Paper’ Our Health 2006 Our Care Our Say set a new directive for the whole health and social care system. The whole essence is to institute a more personalized care to the vulnerable persons.