Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy or Safeguarding Adults Policy?

There can still be some confusion around policies and procedures when it comes to safeguarding adults.

Should you have a Safeguarding Adults at Risk policy or a Safeguarding Adults Policy? What is the difference? When would one or other apply and why?

Introduction to Safeguarding

If you’re wondering what we mean when we say “adult at risk”? See our our safeguarding definitions.

Policy and Procedures that Work for Everyone

Safeguarding is about creating an environment that keeps all adults who are part of a sport or activity organisation safe from harm.

Your safeguarding policy should reflect your commitment to creating a safe environment for everyone. Your procedures should support the organisation to make decisions about addressing any concerns.

Some safeguarding concerns will be about the safety of Adults at Risk as defined in the relevant legislation for each of the four nations. Where this is the care, you’ll need to address these concerns in partnership with the relevant Local Authority.

Other safeguarding concerns may be about adult participants or athletes who are being harmed or at risk of harm, yet who would not be considered an Adult at Risk. This can lead to some confusion. What should you do? How should you respond? Where do your responsibilities lie? This should all be addressed in your policy and procedures.

There can also be uncertainty about how to support or manage situations where someone’s wellbeing is the concern. Your policy and procedures should also define what role your organisation should play in supporting someone’s wellbeing.

Flexible Policies Cover a Range of Situations

Situations where there is an Adult at Risk in organisations often involve the organisation using its own policies and procedures – e.g. code of of conduct breach. This is in addition to and in parallel with any actions the Local Authority and the police might take.

However, you might also encounter situations concerning people who don’t meet the criteria for being referred to the Local Authority as an Adult at Risk, but who are nonetheless at risk of harm. In those situations, you may also need to use internal policies and procedures while signposting to external support organisations.

Policies and procedures that go beyond specifically Safeguarding Adults at Risk can help you.

Close Gap Between ‘Adult’ and ‘Adult at Risk’

Your organisation could decide to have a Safeguarding Adults at Risk policy that purely relates to situations when someone is considered an Adult at Risk. However, this can leave a big gap in the process: What should you do when someone doesn’t meet the criteria for an Adult at Risk, yet they have been harmed or they’re at risk of harm?

If this is the route you wish to take, it is crucial that you write your other relevant policies and procedures in a way that ensures there are no ‘gaps in the net’.

Sometimes you may need to refer to multiple policies and procedures while managing a situation involving the risk of harm, abuse or poor practice, particularly one that is not straightforward or clear cut. The best way to be prepared, reduce confusion and avoid gaps is to ensure you have consistency, interconnection and transparency between your policies and procedures.

Outline Your Principles

It’s also important that all of your safeguarding policies outline some clear principles to guide action.

A broader safeguarding adults in sport policy and procedure that encompasses the remit of keeping all adults safe from harm is consistent with the duty of care to all athletes and participants.

Policy and Procedures Templates

We have safeguarding policy and procedures templates which can be used by sport and activity organisations in all four home nations with a clear distinction between policy and procedure.

See Safeguarding Adults Policy Templates

The templates can be used as inspiration to get started on creating your own safeguarding policy and procedures. You can also amend them and personalise them to suit your requirements.

We strongly recommend you include wording, examples and references that are relevant and relatable for your sport and organisation. This will ensure it will work for you in practical real life situations.



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Safeguarding Audits

We have over 25 years experience safeguarding adults across all types of organisations. Our independent audits review your current policies, practices, training and investigations to give you recommendations and advice on how to improve safeguarding in your organisation.

Safeguarding Audits