How we deal with safeguarding concerns

Read about what happens after a safeguarding concern is reported.

What is adult safeguarding

Safeguarding means protecting the health, wellbeing and human rights of adults at risk, enabling them to live safely, free from abuse and neglect. Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility.

Safeguarding is people and organisations working together to prevent and reduce both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect. We also make sure that the adult's wellbeing is supported and their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs are respected when agreeing on any action.

When you report a concern about an adult at risk, you will be listened to. We are here to provide help and support.

How the safeguarding process works

After you make a report

Your report will be passed to a Social Worker who will be able to support further. 

What will happen next will depend on:

  • the views and wishes of the person the concern is about
  • the nature and seriousness of the abuse or neglect 
  • any possible risk to other

Sometimes, the Social Worker will involve other professionals to investigate.

Your information will be treated confidentially. However, there may be occasions when some information needs to be shared, if it's in the best interest of the adult at risk.


The law and safeguarding

The Council, the Police and the NHS work in partnership to safeguard adults who need support. By law the council must:

  • make enquiries or request others to do so if the adult has care and support needs, is at risk of harm and is unable to protect themselves
  • arrange for an advocate to support any adult who needs extra help during a safeguarding enquiry or review
  • work with any other agencies involved to protect an adult with care and support needs who is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect
  • have a Safeguarding Adults Board with members from the Council, the Police and the NHS who will work together to help keep people safe


Involving friends and family

If the adult at risk wants their family or friends to be involved within the safeguarding procedures, it is important that they are. This will help them to feel supported when dealing with difficult or distressing issues.

If the adult at risk gives their consent, we can share the concerns for their welfare or safety with relatives and friends. They can also be involved with meetings about how concerns or allegations are being addressed and support plans for the future.  

If the adult at risk decides that they don’t want relatives or friends to be informed or involved, professionals will need to respect this decision.

Information will only be shared in accordance with the Data Protection Act.


Making decisions for someone

If the adult at risk doesn't have the mental capacity to decide this themselves, a decision will need to be made in their ‘best interests’ under the Mental Capacity Act.

There are times when an adult at risk needs help to make decisions, or lacks the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Sometimes, other people are allowed to make the decision in the person’s best interests. This can happen if the guidance provided by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is followed.

The decision might be made by:

  • a family member 
  • carer 
  • professionals 

The Mental Capacity Act is intended to:

  • help and support people who lack capacity 
  • balance a person’s right to make decisions for themselves with their right to be protected from harm

Read the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice on


Supporting the at-risk adult


Relatives or friends may have a range of roles depending on the circumstances and wishes of the adult at risk. These may include:

  • supporting the adult at risk to tell professionals what their views and wishes are and to help make sure these are heard
  • supporting the adult at risk through the process, including at meetings
  • sharing information about the risks your relative or friend is experiencing and what their support needs are
  • contributing to a plan to protect the adult at risk, this is called a Protection Plan and is a record of the agreed action to keep the person safe
  • supporting an assessment of the adult at risks needs, this might include your needs if you are a carer

Contact us

If you need more information or don't understand something, you can contact the adult social care team.


020 8770 5000

Write to us

Sutton Council
Civic Offices
St Nicholas Way

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Our offices and phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.