Rather than following a prescribed system, safeguarding must take into account the individual choices and requirements of everyone involved.
“Nothing about me without me.”
Alongside the increased need to recognise the importance of safeguarding adults as well as children, there has also been a cultural shift towards Making Safeguarding Personal within the safeguarding process.
This is a shift from prioritising outcomes demanded by bureaucratic systems. The safeguarding process used to involve gathering a detailed account of what happened, and determining who did what to whom. Now the outcomes are defined by the person at the centre of the safeguarding process.
The safeguarding process now places a stronger emphasis on achieving satisfactory outcomes that take into account the individual choices and requirements of everyone involved.
“What good is it making someone safer if it merely makes them miserable?” – Lord Justice Mundy, “What Price Dignity?” (2010)
What this means in practice is that adults should be more involved in the safeguarding process. Their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs must be taken into account when decisions are made.
The Care Act 2014 builds on the concept, stating that “We all have different preferences, histories, circumstances and lifestyles so it is unhelpful to prescribe a process that must be followed whenever a concern is raised.”
However, the Act is also clear that there are key issues that should be taken into account when abuse or neglect are suspected, and that there should be clear guidelines regarding this.