To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether it is his policy that local authorities should be required to provide appropriate support where it is identified through an official safeguarding inquiry that further support is needed to protect a person from the risk of abuse or neglect.
The Care Act 2014 clarifies and strengthens the processes to support adults who are at risk from abuse or neglect in the following ways:
- Where local authorities have reasonable cause to expect a person is at risk of abuse or neglect they must carry out a safeguarding enquiry, consider what if any actions are needed, and who should carry these out. This makes clear that there is no eligibility threshold and allows authorities flexibility to respond to a safeguarding issue appropriately, which may be through the authority or one of its partners such as the police.
- The statutory Care Act guidance clarifies that where a local authority has started a safeguarding enquiry but identifies a potential need for a care and support service, it should continue the needs assessment for care and support in parallel, and determine whether the person has eligible needs which it must meet. The eligibility criteria is based upon whether the person’s needs have a significant impact on their wellbeing, which includes abuse and neglect. While the authority is likely to have already identified any safeguarding issues earlier and made an enquiry, it would still consider these at the eligibility determination as it would clearly impact on the person’s wellbeing.
- The care and support system should support the above by having a comprehensive preventative strategy that promotes wellbeing and independence, and one that does not wait to respond when people reach a crisis point.