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Support and Protection of People Using a Care Service from Wilful Neglect and Corporate Homicide (Scotland) Policy

Policy Statement

This policy is in line with Care Inspectorate and Scottish Social Services Council guidance, which alerts care providers to the offences of wilful neglect created under the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 and corporate homicide, which was created under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. It also reflects Health and Safety law in relation to the investigations of breaches of the regulations that can follow from serious incidents in which people are harmed or even die.

The aim of the policy is clearly to ensure that {{org_field_name}} or its staff are never charged with either of these offences, which it will do by achieving the highest standards of care in all its activities in line with the national health and social care standards My Support, My Life and strict adherence to the SSSC Codes of Practice and all health and safety law.

The policy should be used in relation to:


{{org_field_name}} understands that the following applies.

Wilful Neglect

  1. Any person employed by a care provider, including a senior staff member, would be committing a criminal offence if they wilfully neglected or ill-treated an adult receiving health and/or social care.
  2. {{org_field_name}} will also be committing an offence of wilful neglect if:
    a. a care worker employed by {{org_field_name}} wilfully neglects or ill-treats a person receiving care
    b. {{org_field_name}}’s has failed to exercise their duty of care, so allowing the wilful neglect to happen
    c. the wilful neglect would not have occurred (or would have been less likely to occur) had {{org_field_name}} exercised their duty of care properly.
  3. “Wilful neglect” is not defined in law, but in its ordinary sense “wilful” means behaviour that is obstinately self-willed, headstrong or perverse.

Examples of the Offence of Wilful Neglect

Corporate Homicide

A care provider as any other organisation can be found guilty of corporate homicide where it is proved that a person receiving care or employee has died because of gross failure on its part.

Wilful neglect that leads to the death of a person receiving care could result in a charge of corporate homicide but there could be other causes resulting from {{org_field_name}}’s failure to exercise their duty of care.

For example someone might die from failures to maintain buildings and equipment or from other breaches of health and safety law. In such cases the provider’s management and organisation will have fallen well below the standards that could be reasonably expected and it therefore might be charged with Corporate Homicide.


(See also Support and Protection of People Who Use a Care Service from Harm Overarching (Scotland) Policy).

Individual Responsibilities

In {{org_field_name}}, every social care worker in any position has an obligation to follow their code of practice and report immediately any harm, exploitation and any dangerous, abusive or discriminatory behaviour by following the service’s adult support and protection procedures. There is always a duty to act in response to any evidence or concerns anyone might have and in acting to be open and honest. Therefore:

Organisational Responsibilities

As a care provider we recognise that we must:


All staff receive training as part of their induction programme.in recognising, reporting and responding to alleged or evident harm, including wilful neglect, and carrying out their responsibilities under this policy.

All training, including induction training, is in line with the guidance and standards produced by the relevant social and healthcare training organisations.

All staff receive training using SSSC resources and to ensure that they are familiar with local authority adult support and protection policies and procedures.

Wilful Neglect Ill-treatment and Corporate Homicide Guidance is available on the SSSC website.

Guidance (2020) for social service workers, providers, managers, supervisors, social workers and social work students is available from the Care Inspectorate Hub (Care Inspectorate/Scottish Social Services Council).

Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

Copyright ©2024 {{org_field_name}}. All rights reserved

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