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Safeguarding - changes under the Care Act

What is safeguarding?

'Adult safeguarding' means working with adults with care and support needs to keep them safe from abuse or neglect. It is an important part of what many public services do, and a key responsibility for each council.

Your local council has had systems in place for many years to support and protect vulnerable people who are subjected to abuse or neglect.

Why did the law on safeguarding need to change?

Although all councils have been responsible for safeguarding for many years, there has never been a clear set of laws behind it. As a result, it is often unclear who is responsible for what, in practice.

The Care Act aims to put this right by creating a legal framework so key organisations and individuals with responsibilities for adult safeguarding can agree on how they must work together and what roles they must play to keep adults safe from harm.

What's changing?

The Care Act will not significantly change the way in which frontline council staff and others will support vulnerable people who have been subjected to abuse and neglect.

But where a person involved in a Safeguarding Enquiry or Review needs help to understand and take part in the process, and to express their views, councils will now need to ensure that there is someone involved who can speak on the person's behalf.

And the Care Act means that councils and other organisations need to work more closely together to ensure that people are protected when they experience abuse or neglect, and need to develop shared plans which will help to reduce the numbers of future incidents of abuse or neglect.

You can find out more from the government's Care Act fact sheet on Protecting Adults From Abuse Or Neglect.

What to do if you are concerned about someone

You can find out more about the different types of abuse and neglect, and about people who are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect, in our section Abuse and Neglect - Safeguarding Adults.

And if you have concerns about someone then please go straight to our page What To Do If You Think Someone Is At Risk Of Abuse