Safeguarding: Month One of Two Months Difficult Reading

Jun 3, 2022

This is the first in a series that can be an emotionally difficult area of concern for all professionals.

This blog provides a brief overview and links to more information for further reading. Month two will follow and discuss whistleblowing.

Would your policies support you and assist you in meeting the standards if assessed and do you know what the standards are?

Considering safeguarding do you know?

  1. What is your “Duty to Report”?
  2. What steps do you undertake to minimise the risk of an internal safeguarding incident?
  3. Who could be deemed to be an “adult at risk”?
  4. Do you know what is and where to find the relevant safeguarding process for the relevant individual?
  5. What are the 6 Ps of safeguarding?

Consider your responses to the above and then read on…

What is “Duty to Report”?

The following overview is taken from the CSP Duty of Report 3rd Edition Jan 20211

“‘Duty to report’ can be a legal, moral, or professional obligation (either individually or in some combination) to make a statement about a given matter to another person or organisation in a position of authority. Unlike ‘duty of care,’ ‘duty to report’ is not an absolute duty. There may be circumstances where another duty overrides the duty to report. In

healthcare, the most common duty that ‘duty to report’ aligns with is the ‘duty of confidentiality.”

Your obligations and ‘Duty to Report’

When considering whether you have a professional duty to report a matter, you must

  • weigh up and balance the need to report,
  • against the harm of over-reporting, or unnecessary reporting,
  • and the damage that can be done to professional relationships or relationships with patients.

However, professional, and personal loyalties must not get in the way of reporting matters when it is clearly appropriate to do so.

You must always have an honestly held belief in your concern, and you should have some form of evidence to support your concerns.

You should take a reasonable and proportionate approach to escalating your concern through appropriate channels.”

More information can be found in Section 3 and Section 5 of the CSP Duty to Report information.

The HCPC standards of performance, conduct and ethics2     standard 7 stipulates: – “You must report concerns, follow up on these and escalate them where necessary.”

Remember safeguarding does NOT just happen externally. Safeguarding also relates to internal behaviours and responses.

Your safeguarding response follows that of the relevant local authority for the individual affected.

We suggest you keep the contact details accessible for the main local authorities of your caseload.

What do you undertake to minimise the risk of an internal safeguarding incident?

  • Do you undertake the necessary steps to avoid an incident? e.g., Recruitment
    – are new employees robustly appointed?
  • Do you support your staff if they need to report a potential internal safeguarding incident? e.g. Are your reporting processes robust?
  • Do your relevant policies and processes support and assist the staff? And do your processes safeguard your team as well as your customers?

If you are collaborating with other providers, consider: –

  • Do we undertake due diligence from a safeguarding as well as a financial perspective?
  • Have we reviewed their safeguarding policies and processes?
  • Does the contract between services cover the process and responsibilities for a safeguarding incident?

CSP Duty of Report 3rd Edition Jan 20211   :

“Safeguarding is a statutory obligation and your duty to protect patients and/or service users from all forms of abuse, harm and/or neglect overrides any duty of confidentiality.”

Safeguarding has gained prominence after investigated service failings in many sectors including health and social care.

The term ‘vulnerable adult’ was replaced by ‘adult at risk’ in March 2011. NHS England Adult At Risk3

This is because the term vulnerable adult may wrongly imply that some of the fault for the abuse lies with the adult being abused.

An adult at risk could be, but is not limited to, a person who:

  • Is elderly and frail due to ill health, physical disability, or cognitive impairment.
  • Has a learning or physical disability.
  • Has mental health needs including dementia or a personality disorder.
  • Has a long-term illness/condition.
  • Misuses substance or alcohol.
  • Is a carer (where the person meets the definition): Carers look after family, partners or friends who are ill, frail or have a disability. The care they provide is unpaid. (Carers UK).
  • Is unable to demonstrate the capacity to plan and needs care and support.

The 6Ps of Safeguarding are the principles to be followed: –

  1. Empowerment (make our own decisions).
  2. Prevention (take action before harm occurs).
  3. Proportionality (least intrusive option).
  4. Protection (represent what they say and not what you think they say).
  5. Partnership (collaborating with community services).
  6. Accountability (transparency in delivering safeguarding).

Ensure that your service places safeguarding within the services’ strategic objectives.

Ensure that it works with the local Safeguarding Adults Board, patients, and community partners to create safeguards for all individuals.

If the person does not have mental capacity, then actions must be made using best interests.

Document carefully throughout the process.

In section 5 of the Mental Capacity Act, you are protected from liability providing you: –

  • are following your company’s policies and procedures
  • the process is clearly documented
  • the policies and procedures must be

More information on this huge topic can be found in the reading below.

Remember in most workplaces, incidents of safeguarding are not usually everyday occurrences. But they do occur, and we all must play our part.

Additional reading


  1. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Duty to Report 3rd Edition January 2021
  2. HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics
  3. NHS Adult at Risk Pocket Guide

We now invite you to revisit the initial five questions and now ask – can I answer these and do I comply?

If not, or still not sure, we are always here to help.

We have policies and more information available to buy in our store.

To stay up to date with HCPC compliance click here.


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