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Adult Safeguarding is the way of working and thinking that protects adults with care and support needs from abuse, harm or neglect. Safeguarding balances the right to be safe with the right to make informed choices. Informed choices means being able to make a decision when they have been provided with all information.

There are many regulations that apply in the social care sector in regard to safeguarding and these include:

The Care Act 2014 makes it the duty of local authorities to make inquiries if someone is being abused or neglected, or is at risk of abuse or neglect in their area. They must also set up multi-agency safeguarding adult’s boards to review cases when people die as a result of neglect or abuse and where it is suspected that agencies could have done more to safeguard them.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 aims to protect and empower people who are unable to make choices for themselves.

The Human Rights Act 1998 which gives specific rights to every person living in the UK, for example, the right to life and freedom from torture and degrading treatment.

And The Equality Act 2010 which protects people from discrimination and disadvantage due to protected characteristics including race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, transgender, religion and age.

Harm includes ill-treatment (including sexual abuse, exploitation and forms of ill-treatment which are not physical); the impairment of health (physical or mental) or development (physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural); self-harm and neglect; unlawful conduct which adversely affects a person’s property, rights or interests (for example, financial abuse).

A person’s wellbeing may include their sense of hope, confidence and self-esteem, their ability to communicate their wants and needs, to make contact with others, show warmth and affection, and experience and show pleasure or enjoyment. It includes supporting well-being, making sure that basic needs such as security, nutrition & hydration are met. Safeguarding promotes independence. Health and Social care organisations are responsible for making sure care and support are delivered in ways that are safe. Every worker has a part to play.

It is important that people receiving care and support feel able to challenge poor standards of care. They should know how to complain and feel confident to make a complaint without fear of facing negative treatment. Ask your employer to tell you what to do when someone wants to complain.

An open and honest culture can encourage individuals to raise concerns before they come to harm. You should do what is appropriate in your role to try and resolve any concerns. If someone is still unhappy you must tell them how to complain. There should be a recorded process with agreed timescales. You may need to support the individual to make a complaint by explaining the process and supporting them to communicate. It is really important to make sure that their voice is heard as this is part of developing a way of working that puts the individual at the centre of their care.

In your role as a healthcare support worker or adult social care worker, it may be thought of as abuse if you cause harm to someone or do not do the things you should to prevent harm. It is important that you know the ways of working to safeguard adults in your workplace. 

Your policies and procedures tell you how to meet the Care Quality Commission’s Fundamental Standards of Quality and Safety. You should also follow the Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England.
The Code of Conduct states that workers must:
‘Always make sure that your actions or omissions do not harm an individual’s health or wellbeing. You must never abuse, neglect, harm or exploit those who use health and care services, their carers or your colleagues’.

To find out more about your responsibilities in preventing abuse and protecting from harm discuss your role, and how it fits
with the roles of other workers, with your manager.