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1.2 Values and Principles: Making Safeguarding Personal


  1. Introduction
  2. Translating Principles into Outcomes
  3. An Individual’s Perspective
  4. An Organisational Perspective

1. Introduction

Defining and measuring outcomes is an important part of Safeguarding Adults work. To ensure safeguarding is personal, effective outcomes play a crucial role in establishing a good overall quality assurance framework, at individual, agency and Safeguarding Adult Board (SAB) levels.

Outcomes need to reflect the ‘journey’ of the individual as they progress through the process of being safeguarded and it is imperative that, they are placed at the centre of this process.

Defining and measuring outcomes needs to go beyond collecting numbers. Although statistical outputs are necessary and useful when analysing data, they do not, give us information on the quality and effectiveness of the safeguarding from the point of view of the Adult At Risk.

Information and feedback from Adults At Risk themselves should form the basis for measuring how effective the safeguarding process has been and will form the basis for improving outcomes.

2. Translating Principles into Outcomes

The Care Act 2014 reiterates the following six principles of safeguarding, which apply to all sectors and settings including care and support services, further education colleges, commissioning, regulation and provision of health and care services, social work, healthcare, welfare benefits, housing, wider local authority functions and the criminal justice system. The principles should inform the ways in which professionals and other staff work with adults. The principles can also help SABs, and organisations more widely, by using them to examine and improve their local arrangements.

Six key principles underpin all adult safeguarding work:

  • Empowerment – People being supported and encouraged to make their own
    decisions and informed consent.

    “I am asked what I want as the outcomes from the safeguarding process and these
    directly inform what happens.”
  • Prevention – It is better to take action before harm occurs.

    “I receive clear and simple information about what abuse is, how to recognise the
    signs and what I can do to seek help.”
  • Proportionality – The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.

    “I am sure that the professionals will work in my interest, as I see them and they will
    only get involved as much as needed.”
  • Protection – Support and representation for those in greatest need.

    “I get help and support to report abuse and neglect. I get help so that I am able to
    take part in the safeguarding process to the extent to which I want.”
  • Partnership – Local solutions through services working with their communities.
    Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect
    and abuse.

    “I know that staff treat any personal and sensitive information in confidence, only
    sharing what is helpful and necessary. I am confident that professionals will work
    together and with me to get the best result for me.”
  • Accountability – Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding.

    “I understand the role of everyone involved in my life and so do they.”

In addition to these principles, it is also important that all safeguarding partners take a broad community approach to establishing safeguarding arrangements. It is vital that all organisations recognise that adult safeguarding arrangements are there to protect individuals. We all have different preferences, histories, circumstances and life-styles, so it is unhelpful to prescribe a process that must be followed whenever a concern is raised.

Making Safeguarding Personal means it should be person-led and outcome-focused. It engages the person in a conversation about how best to respond to their safeguarding situation in a way that enhances involvement, choice and control as well as improving quality of life, wellbeing and safety. Nevertheless, there are key issues that local authorities and their partners should consider if they suspect or are made aware of abuse or neglect.

Some people may express desired outcomes or wishes that are not possible, and this provides opportunities for frank discussion to establish what the next best option is within some broader boundaries and principles that they have stated. For other people their desired outcomes may not be possible for instance if they don’t want the police involved but the person who has abused or neglected them is in a position to do the same to others. Again there will be opportunities to explain this honestly and to find ways to most closely meet their wishes.

3. An Individual’s Perspective

Where the principles are applied effectively, an individual would be able to agree with the following statements.

People worked together to reduce the risk to my safety and wellbeing:

  • I had the information I needed, in the way that I needed it;
  • Professionals helped me to plan ahead and manage the risks that were important to me;
  • People and services understood me - recognised and respected what I could do and what I needed help with;
  • The people I wanted were involved;
  • I had good quality care - I felt safe and in control;
  • When things started to go wrong, people around me noticed and acted early.

People worked together and helped when I was harmed:

  • People noticed and acted;
  • People asked what I wanted to happen and worked together with me to get it;
  • The people I wanted were involved;
  • I got the help I needed by those in the best placed to give it;
  • The help I received made my situation better;
  • People will learn from my experience and use it to help others;
  • I understood the reasons when decisions were made that I didn’t agree with.

4. An Organisational Perspective

From an organisational perspective, applying the principles effectively includes the following:

  • Empowerment - We give individuals the right information about how to recognise Abuse and what they can do to keep themselves safe. We consult with them before taking any action. Where someone lacks Capacity to make a decision we always act in his or her best interests;
  • Prevention - We help the community to identify and report signs of Abuse and suspected criminal offences.  We train staff how to recognise signs and take action to prevent Abuse occurring;
  • Proportionality - We discuss with the individual and where appropriate, with partner agencies, what to do where there is a risk of abuse or neglect  before we make a decision;
  • Protection - We have effective ways of assessing and managing risk. Our local complaints and reporting arrangements for Abuse and suspected criminal offences work well;
  • Partnership - We are good at sharing information locally. We have multi-agency arrangements in place and staff understand how to use these;
  • Accountability - The roles of all agencies are clear together with the lines of accountability. Staff understand what is expected of them and others.