“Safeguarding” refers to measures designed to protect the health, wellbeing and human rights of individuals.

These measures allow adults to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.

Every organisation, small group and individual should be aware of their responsibility in work and society.

Why You and Your Organisation Should be Aware of Safeguarding

All organisations need to have strategies and practices in place to ensure that people in their organisation are safe and know how to raise concerns. This is generally known as ‘safeguarding’. But to some, this may not be an easy term to understand.  So you need to ensure that you use language that as many people as possible can understand and engage with.

It’s not enough for people to have knowledge and awareness about safeguarding. It’s also important that they know what their role and responsibility is if they witness abuse, or are informed that someone has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed. For example: Do they know how and who to report to? What should they deal with themselves? Or should they even deal with it at all?

Essential Steps to Take When Designing a Safeguarding Policy

Every safeguarding policy will differ. But all safeguarding policies should adhere to The Care Act 2014.

The Care Act 2014

The Care ACT 2014 is about protecting adults at risk from mistreatment. It’s also concerned with improving their quality of life. The Act sets out six principles that aim to emphasise that everyone in care is a human being with unique wants and needs. For more information, read our guide to the six principles of Safeguarding.

It’s important to understand the various types of harm a person can experience. According to The Care Act 2014, adults might experience 10 distinct categories of abuse. We’ve also identified four additional types of harm, including cyberbullying and financial abuse.

We have a separate primer for each type of harm. Each primer features information on the signs to look out for, and the action you can take if you have any concerns. You can read our primers to the various types of harm here. 

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) is about protecting the decision-making process. It determines whether a person has capacity to make a decision that is in their best interests.

The priority is to ensure that the person has a clear understanding of the consequences of their decision, despite the risk involved. A person’s ability to do this may be affected by things like learning disability, dementia, mental health needs, acquired brain injury, and physical ill health.

Making Safeguarding Personal

At the centre of your policy should be a commitment to “Making Safeguarding Personal” (MSP). This means that adults should be more involved in the safeguarding process. So their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs must be taken into account. No decisions that affect them should be made without consulting them.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 states that every individual has the right to make their own decisions. It also provides the framework for this to happen.

The issue of capacity or decision making is key in safeguarding adults. It’s useful for organisations to have an overview of the concept of capacity. You can learn more about the legislation itself and pursue more training by Implementing the Mental Capacity Act

To self-assess your safeguarding knowledge, policy and procedures, complete the checklist online here.

Already completed this assessment and want to further your knowledge? Check out our list of useful resources and guides:

MIND’s guide to safeguarding. Get it here.

The NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit’s guide to Safeguarding. Learn more.

The ACT Safeguarding Matters Podcast – What is the Mental Capacity Act? Listen here.

What is Safeguarding? XR Training’s video guide. Watch here.

The National Crime Agency’s guide to cyber crime. Learn more.

Downloadable Resources:

The NHS Pocket Guide to Safeguarding. Download here.

Skills for Care’s Guide to Safeguarding Adults for Social Care Service Providers. Download here.

A Guide to the Care Act. Download here.

Sense: Making Safeguarding Personal. Download here.

The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice. Download here.

The Restraint Reduction Network’s Training Standards 2019. Download here.

Dimensions: What To Do When Someone’s Worried About You. Download here.

Dimensions: What To Do When Someone’s Worried About Your Friend or Relative. Download here.

What Dimensions Does About Abuse. Easy-read booklet. Download here.

Want to know more about prevention and policies about Safeguarding? Click here.