Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults  

Policy & Procedure

August 2017


The aim of this document is to promote the safety and protection of vulnerable adults in line with statutory guidance set out by the Department of Health in No Secrets (2000) and The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006). It sets out the definitions of abuse and vulnerability and outlines HOPE’s policy and procedure in the prevention and investigation of abuse. In order to ensure optimum safeguarding of HOPE clients, this policy and procedure will be reviewed and updated annually.



Vulnerable Adult

‘Vulnerable adult’ is defined as a person aged 18 years and over:

  • ‘who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and
  • who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation’



‘Abuse’ is defined as ‘a violation’ of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it. Abuse can be:

  • a single act or repeated acts
  • physical, verbal or psychological
  • an act of neglect or an omission to act
  • when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he/she had not consented, or cannot consent.


Significant Harm

‘Significant harm’ is defined as:

  • ‘ill treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment that are not physical); or
  • The impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in, physical or mental health and the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development’. Law commission (1995).



The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 provides a legislative framework to ensure that everyone working with children or vulnerable adults is registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) Vetting and Barring Scheme. All staff working in these areas can be checked and either registered or if unsuitable, barred from working with these clients groups. Under the scheme, HOPE is defined as a Regulated Activity Provider (RAP), in that it is responsible for the management or control of regulated activity with vulnerable groups and makes arrangements for people to work in that activity (paid or unpaid). Consequently all staff working in areas of ‘regulated activity’ are required to be registered with the ISA. Trustees (who are in clearly defined positions of authority) are also required to be ISA registered.


Reporting to relevant Public Bodies

With the aim of ensuring that vulnerable adults who are at risk of abuse, receive protection and support (in line with the Human Rights Act 1998), local Social Services Departments are responsible for investigating and taking action when a vulnerable adult is believed to be suffering abuse. The Health Act 1999 requires partnership working to ensure appropriate policies, procedures and practices are in place within all providers of health and social care. In addition, Section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 provides guidance on the development of coherent strategies in all areas of the statutory, voluntary and private agencies that work with vulnerable adults. Consequently, where there are concerns regarding abuse of vulnerable adults, HOPE has a duty to ensure that referrals are made to the local Social Care Team. Where a criminal act has been reported, such incidents may also require reporting to the police.


In line with legal requirements, where appropriate and following an investigation, the Police, Social Care Team and any other public body will make a referral to the ISA.


There are some behaviours, which whilst not requiring referral to the police or Social Care Teams, may give cause for concern and require internal investigation by HOPE and referral to the ISA Vetting and Barring Scheme. If relevant staff choose to leave HOPE’s employment prior to completion of an internal investigation, HOPE will have a legal obligation to refer such cases to the ISA who will decide whether the case needs further investigation and whether the individual involved will be ‘barred’ from the ISA register.


In co-operating with the above guidance, HOPE will underpin its commitment to safeguarding and protecting vulnerable adults by:

  1. Ensuring that all staff working in areas of ‘regulated activity’ as defined by the Schedule 4 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 are registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
  2. Ensuring that all trustees, (defined by the same act as in positions of responsibility) are registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
  • Ensuring that a specific trustee is named as responsible for ensuring that (where appropriate) staff are registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
  1. Providing workers with an up-to-date Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Policy and Procedures which will be mandatory to use and implement.
  2. Training workers at all levels to act responsibly when they have a concern about a vulnerable adult in line with this policy and procedure. Induction processes for all new staff will ensure that all staff are aware of the existence of this policy and procedure, and other related policies and make clear their basic requirements should they have a concern.
  3. Providing a nominated safeguarding person within HOPE, identified at a senior management level to oversee all aspects of safeguarding and protecting throughout HOPE’s services and to make recommendations for the improving of policy and practice across the organisation.
  • Management staff to meet at least four times a year to assist the nominated person to fulfil requirements within the organisation as a whole, and to take an active part in ensuring implementation to all staff.
  • Discussing the contents of this policy at staff and client meetings and will involve identifying ways of addressing disincentives to reporting concerns.


All HOPE staff and volunteers have a responsibility to work in the interests of the individual client’s and to act in a way which promotes and safeguards their well-being. Accordingly, they must take all reasonable steps to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, understand the risk factors, types of abuse and indicators (physical, sexual, emotional/psychological, financial, neglect and discriminatory) (see appendix and know how to respond when they witness it or when it is disclosed to them). All staff and volunteers working within agencies have a responsibility to address vulnerable adult abuse. Ignoring abuse is not an option.