E: support@e-carehub.co.uk



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

Policy Aims

This policy is written to show how {{org_field_name}} complies with the requirements of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 and the national health and care standards, My Support, My Life. These standards emphasise that people using services should be confident that staff providing their care and support and the care providing organisation will fully protect them from harm in line with their duty of care.

It should be read and used in association with the relevant local authority adult support and protection of vulnerable people policies, procedures and guidance (as will usually be available on the local authority website).

The policy should also be used in relation to the range of policies designed to make sure that all people using services are kept safe from harm and the risks of their coming to avoidable harm are kept to the minimum and well managed.

Staff must be mindful of their duties to protect vulnerable people as stated in their Code of Practice for Social Services Workers and to meet their registration requirements.


The policy is written to comply with Care Inspectorate guidance, which recommends that care providers should include the following key components in their policy:

Policy Statement

This policy sets out the:

{{org_field_name}} recognises that people using services must always be protected from all forms of harm and identify and deal with specific instances of harm if they occur.

The service applies the principles underpinning the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, ie due regard must be given to:

In applying these principles the service seeks to work in line with local authority support and protection policies and procedures and Care Inspectorate guidance, as for example, found in its Adult Support and Protection Policy and Procedure.

The service recognises that the people who use its services who lack mental capacity are particularly vulnerable to abuse, harm and exploitation. It is accordingly mindful of the need to follow the principles and practice guidance that has accompanied the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. These apply particularly to investigations of possible harm in which it is important to seek means of ascertaining the experiences and views of any victim or indeed alleged perpetrator who might lack capacity, eg by seeking the services of independent advocates.

Safeguarding Responsibilities

In line with best practice. the service has a safeguarding lead or “champion”, who provides a one-stop point of contact for addressing initially all safeguarding concerns in the service and in corresponding and communicating with external agencies, particularly the local authority adult protection team.

The current safeguarding lead is:

Contact details:___________________

Local Authority Safeguarding

{{org_field_name}} has policies and procedures for the sharing of safeguarding information amongst other forms of information that might be shared with other agencies and professionals. These are written to comply with confidentiality principles and data protection laws.

The service develops its policies and procedures in line with our local authority adult protection service and follows its recommendations and guidance, as found on its website together with relevant documentation for, eg for making referrals and staff training.

The local adult protection service to which {{org_field_name}} relates as a partner organisation is: [Add details including:]



Telephone numbers:



Local Adults Protection Service manager:

Key liaison staff:

Defining Harm

The service has developed its procedures on the definition of harm provided by the adult support and protection legislation. Harm “is defined as including all harmful conduct and, in particular, includes:

“Harm” to others can be described in terms of:

Bullying as a form of harm

People using services have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Bullying of any vulnerable adult or child is always harmful; it causes distress and can lead to accidents, illness, non-participation and low achievements. Bullying is a form of harmful conduct, although since much of it is the result of peer behaviour it has to be treated in many cases on its merits.

Bullying is defined as any unsolicited or unwelcome act that humiliates, intimidates or undermines the individual involved. No form of bullying of a person using a service from any source will be condoned by any staff employed by {{org_field_name}}. Management will take every step to prevent and eliminate any of its people using the service from being bullied in line with its general protection from harm policies and procedures.

When appropriate, every effort will be made to resolve the situation with the parties concerned involving the victim of bullying, the bullies and their families and guardians/representatives. It should be acknowledged that some people using services might also engage in bullying behaviour, which must be addressed as any other bullying issue.

The priority is always to keep a victim safe from further bullying and to reduce the bullying behaviour of the perpetrator if the person is also subject to service provision.

Staff who observe or can identify that a person using the service is being bullied or bullying another user should report the matter to their manager, who can begin to consider the situation with the individuals concerned and their representatives. Any form of bullying that is clearly causing significant harm to the person or persons being bullied should be addressed using the organisation’s procedures, which are described in a later section of this policy document.

Identifying Perpetrators of Harm

{{org_field_name}} accepts that harm can be committed by a range of possible people. It therefore accepts its responsibility to protect people using its services from possible harm from all sources. Potential perpetrators include:

The Role and Accountability of Staff in Relation to Harm

All staff have a responsibility to:

The service requires its managers to take responsibility for:

Safe Recruitment Practices

The service takes great care in the recruitment of staff, carries out all possible checks on recruits to ensure that they are of a high standard, and co-operates in all initiatives regarding the sharing of information on care workers who are found to be unsuitable to work with people at risk. The service ensures that new employees employed in regulated activity have been checked against Disclosure Scotland records and barred lists in line with the current requirements. (See the Recruiting and Selecting Staff (Scotland) Policy.)

Preventing Harm

{{org_field_name}} is committed to taking all possible steps to prevent people using its services from being harmed, including:

Identifying Actual or Possible Harm

{{org_field_name}} aims to identify any instances of actual or possible harm involving people using our service by all possible means including:

Procedures for When Harm Has Occurred or is Alleged to Have Occurred

If harm is clearly occurring is alleged to have occurred, or there are suspicions that a person or people are being harmed, {{org_field_name}} through its management will take swift action to limit the damage to people receiving care and to deal with the harm, as follows.

Initial procedures

Referring incidents of abuse or of alleged abuse

(See Resources for a suite of forms to help identify, report and assess suspected abuse.)

Enquiring into alleged harm

The initial enquiries will usually be carried out by an adult protection social worker social worker. A multi-agency strategy meeting convened by the local authority protection team will follow where indicated from the initial assessment.

In any enquiry, the following guidance should be followed.

  1. An appointed investigating officer/social worker will usually consult the person who may have been harmed to hear their account of what has occurred and their views about what action should be taken, involving the people who use services’ relatives, friends or welfare representatives if that is appropriate and in line with the wishes of the person.
  2. The person making the enquiries is expected to take into account in their conducting of the investigation:
    a. the fears and sensitivity of the harmed person
    b. any risks of intimidation or reprisals
    c. the need to protect and support witnesses
    d. any confidentiality or data protection issues
    e. the possible involvement of other agencies, including the police and local authority
    f. the obligation to keep the harmed person and in specific instances the alleged perpetrator informed on the progress of the investigation.
  3. The person making the enquiries will assure the person who may have been harmed that they will be taken seriously, that the comments will as far as possible be treated confidentially, that they will be protected from reprisals and intimidation, and that they will be kept informed of actions taken and of the outcome.
  4. The person making the enquiries will consider whether the harmed person needs independent help or representation in presenting their evidence and, in conjunction with the responsible manager, if necessary, will arrange for the appropriate help or support to be made available.
  5. If the harmed person expressly states a wish that no further action should be taken, the investigating officer will consider whether:
    a. a danger to others exists from not investigating further
    b. in the light of that assessment it is possible to follow the person’s wishes
    c. in any case precautionary measures should be taken to protect others from the possibility of harm from the same source.
  6. The person will be informed of what is to happen.
  7. If it is decided that an investigation should proceed, the investigating officer will, as discreetly and confidentially as possible, look into all aspects of the situation.
  8. The enquiries will usually include interviewing the staff involved in the incident up to that point, hearing and assessing evidence from any others who might be in a position to supply information, exploring every other possible source of evidence, maintaining appropriate contact with any other agencies involved, and if necessary seeking expert advice on any technical aspects of the situation which are outside the knowledge or expertise available within the service.
  9. Any staff from whom evidence is taken will be assured that they will be dealt with in a fair and equitable manner and informed of their employment, legal and procedural rights.
  10. The alleged victim of the harm, and where appropriate their relatives, friends or representatives, will at all times be kept as fully informed as possible of what is happening regarding the suspected harm.
  11. The enquiries will be carried out within an agreed timescale and the findings presented to the local authority protection or multi-agency team involved, which will then decide what further action to take.

(See Safeguarding Enquiry/Investigation Form for guidance on the process and recording involved.)

Following the investigation

  1. If it seems from the investigation that on the balance of probabilities harm did take place, the responsible manager will, if the perpetrator is a staff member, initiate and carry through proceedings according to the disciplinary policy or, if the perpetrator is not a member of staff, take action to involve other responsible bodies.
  2. If harm is proved against a care staff member, the registered manager will initiate appropriate action, which most likely will be dismissal and referral to the Disclosure Scotland PVA barring service to prevent them from being employed further in care work and any relevant professional registration body.
  3. Other employment sanctions could apply depending on whether there might have been mitigating or extenuating circumstances. In some cases, retraining could be appropriate.
  4. The harmed person or representatives will be informed of the outcome of the investigation and any further action and will be consulted about whether any redress or apology would be appropriate and helpful to them.
  5. At all stages of the process, a careful record will be kept of all actions taken, paying particular attention to the sensitivity of the harmed person.

Planning further action

At the end of an incident involving possible or actual harm, managers should review what has happened with a view to assessing whether {{org_field_name}} or its management has been in any way culpable, ineffective or negligent, learning lessons for the way to operate in the future, and passing on any appropriate information to other external agencies.

If necessary, {{org_field_name}} will review and revise its policies, procedures and training arrangements in response to any material that has emerged from the incident or the investigation. The service might carry this out with advice and guidance from the local authority protection team.

Contacts and Sources of Assistance

List here the names and contact details of:

Record Keeping

The service ensures that all details associated with allegations of harm are recorded clearly and accurately. The records are kept securely and the rules on confidentiality are carefully followed. Reports are made as required to the Care Inspectorate and other support and protection agencies involved.

Referrals to Disclosure Scotland PVA Barred List

The service always complies with its legal requirement to refer a care worker, where it has evidence that the staff member in question has been guilty of misconduct by harming or putting at risk of harm a person at risk, during the course of their work, to the PVA barred lists following the procedures issued by Disclosure Scotland.

Related Policies

This policy should be read in conjunction with the several other policies that relate to support and protection of the people using its services. They include the policies on complaints, physical restraint, the handling of people’s money and financial affairs, recruitment, induction, staff development and training, staff supervision and, importantly, whistleblowing. The policy on mental incapacity will also be relevant in some circumstances.

Related policies include:

{{org_field_name}} is also mindful of is responsibilities to protect people using services from harm during any state of emergency such as happened with the Covid-19 outbreak.


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

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 to ensure that they are familiar with the local authority’s adult support and protection policies and procedures.

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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