Duty to Report Adults at Risk
The Social Services & Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 – Working Together to Safeguard People, places a statutory duty upon relevant partners to report to the local authority if it is suspected that a person is an adult at risk. The Act also imposes a duty on a local authority to report to another local authority if an adult suspected of being an adult at risk is living in or moving to another area.
The person upon whom the duty is imposed must have ‘reasonable cause to suspect’ and the following factors should be noted:
- it is unnecessary to establish on a balance of probabilities that a particular fact is established;
- it is not the subjective opinion of the decision maker;
- reasonable suspicion exists when there is information which would satisfy an objective observer that the particular circumstances exist.
A practitioner who has ‘reasonable cause to suspect’ that there is an adult at risk, should make a written referral and provide the following information:
- a summary of information upon which the decision is based;
- why it is that the decision maker considers objectively that action is required;
- a short statement of the potential risks for the adult if nothing is done.
The concerns should then be reported to Social Services, Health or the Police who will investigate further.