the adult support and protection (scotland) act 2007 (“the act”) level 1
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- The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 (the Act) Level 1
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- Legislation drivers National Reports The 1997 Scottish Law Commission Report on Vulnerable Adults recommended new legislation. UK context In England No Secrets Guidance was introduced in 1998. In Wales In Safe Hands was introduced in 2000. Inquiries The 2003 Inquiry into a case in the Scottish Borders, both the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland and the Social Work Services Inspectorate of the Scottish Executive recommended the need for new legislation.
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- Existing legislation The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 provides means to protect those with incapacity, for example through financial and welfare guardianship. The Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 provides powers and duties in relation to people with mental disorder, including those who are subject to ill- treatment or neglect. The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2007, provides powers and duties in relation to protecting adults at risk of harm. Part 1 of the Act goes live in October 2008.
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- Key elements of Part 1 of the Act Principles governing intervention in an adults affairs Definitions of an adult at risk and harm Statutory duties on councils to inquire and investigate Duty to consider the provision of advocacy and other services Duties of cooperation Offences Three types of Protection Order Duty to establish Adult Protection Committees
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- Principles of Part 1 of the Act Intervention must: provide benefit to the adult; be least restrictive to the adults freedom; and if relevant, have regard to: the wishes and feelings of the adult; any views of the adults nearest relative, primary carer, guardian, attorney or other person, who has an interest in the adults well-being or property; the importance of the adult participating as fully as possible and providing them with such information and support to enable them to participate; ensuring the adult is not be treated less favourably than any other adults in a comparable situation; and the adults abilities, background and characteristics.
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- Adults at risk of harm Adults at risk Adults, aged 16 and over, who: (a) are unable to safeguard their own well-being, property, rights or other interests; (b) are at risk of harm; and (c) because they are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or physical or mental infirmity, are more vulnerable to being harmed than adults who are not so affected.
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- Adults at risk of harm contd Harm Harm includes all harmful conduct and, in particular, includes: (a) conduct which causes physical harm; (b) conduct which causes psychological harm (e.g. by causing fear, alarm or distress); (c) unlawful conduct which appropriates or adversely affects property, rights or interests (e.g. theft, fraud, embezzlement or extortion); (d) conduct which causes self-harm.
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- Adults at risk of harm contd An adult is at risk of harm if: (a)another persons conduct is causing, or is likely to cause the adult to be harmed; or (b) the adult is engaging, or is likely to engage, in conduct which causes, or is likely to cause, self-harm.
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- Inquiries and investigations statutory duties Inquiries Councils have a statutory duty to make inquiries about a persons well-being, property or financial affairs if they know or believe that the person is an adult at risk and that they might need to intervene to take protective actions. Investigations Council Officers have the power to carry out investigations through visits and interviews and through examination of records (except health records). Health professionals have the power to carry out medical examinations as part of investigations and to examine health records. Adults have the right not to answer any questions and to refuse to be medically examined, and must be told of these rights. Councils have a duty to consider the importance of the provision of appropriate services to the adult, including, in particular, independent advocacy.
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- Duty to cooperate The Act sets out statutory duties of co-operation for certain public bodies and their office-holders: Councils NHS boards the Police the Care Commission Mental Welfare Commission; and the Public Guardian. These public bodies and their staff must: report the facts and circumstances to the local Council when they know or believe that someone is an adult at risk and that action is needed to protect that adult from harm; and cooperate with the Council and each other to enable or assist the council making inquiries.
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- Offences The Act provides that it is an offence to prevent or obstruct any person from doing anything they are authorised or entitled to do under the Act. It is also an offence to refuse, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a request to provide information made under the provisions for the examination of records. This offence does not apply to the adult at risk him/herself. Where an offence, for example obstruction, is committed by a relevant person e.g. a company or similar body, and it can be proved that someone in control of the company knew about the offence or it was attributable to their neglect, it is possible to take action against the person in control, not only the company or body itself. A relevant person for the purposes of this section means: a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body; a member, where the affairs of the body are managed by its members; an officer or member of the council; a partner in a Scottish partnership; a person who is concerned in the management or control of an unincorporated association other than a Scottish partnership.
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- Protection orders The Act introduces three protection orders: An assessment order allows for an adult at risk of serious harm to be taken to a more suitable place in order to conduct an interview and/or a medical examination in private; A removal order permits an adult who is likely to be seriously harmed if not moved to another place to be moved to a suitable place for up to 7 days; (A warrant for entry must also be granted when either of these orders is made.) A banning order, or temporary banning order, bans the subject of the order from being in a specified place, or subject to specified conditions, for up to six months. Decisions about protection orders must reflect the principles of the Act. Protection orders should not be granted where the adult refuses to consent. However the sheriff may ignore a refusal to consent where it is believed the adult has been unduly pressurised to refuse consent, and there are no other steps which could reasonably be taken with the adults consent to protect the adult from the harm.
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- Adult Protection Committees Councils have a duty to establish Adult Protection Committees (APCs). Their main functions are to: review procedures and practices; give information or advice, or make proposals; make, or assist and encourage the development of knowledge and skills; and improve cooperation between public bodies concerned. Membership of APCs must include representatives of the Council, the NHS Board and the Chief Constable of the police force in the council area and may include a representative of the Care Commission. The above bodies and the Mental Welfare Commission, the Public guardian and the Care Commission must provide any information reasonably required by the APC for the purposes of it carrying out its functions. The Convener must not be a member or officer of the council. Every two years the Convener must prepare a report on the work of the Committee.
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- Implementation of the Act will require: the establishment of Adult Protection Committees; revision of local policy and procedures in line with the Act and Code of Practice; provision of detailed training on the legislation and practice implications for council officers, specialist staff in social work, health and police services, for the managers who will be supervising those staff and for adult protection conference chairs; establishing a longer term training strategy for all relevant staff on adult support and protection issues and practice; making other social care, health, police, housing and other relevant staff aware of the provisions of the legislation, and their roles and responsibilities under it: providing information for the general public, adults who may be at risk, and carers about the terms of the Act and how to take up concerns with local agencies; and the development of existing information and performance systems to record data about actions and events so that activity and outcomes related to the implementation of the legislation can be monitored and reviewed. Local implementation requirements
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- Case Studies local case study
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