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What Will Happen in a Safeguarding Enquiry?


Initial Screening

When concerns are referred to the local authority, it must first decide whether or not the criteria for making a Section 42 Safeguarding Enquiry under the Care Act 2014 have been met. To make this decision the Local Authority will normally gather information from the referrer, liaise with partner agencies who may know something about the situation, and talk to the person at the centre of the concern to find out their views. The Local Authority will then decide what is the best way to respond to the situation.

Safeguarding adult duties apply where an adult living in the local area:

  • has needs for care and support
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • and is unable to protect themselves from that abuse or neglect because of their care and support needs


Section 42 Enquiries

Where the decision is made that a Section 42 enquiry will be undertaken, the purpose is to find out whether any action should be taken, and if so what, and by whom. The focus should always be on meeting the outcome the person wants, in a way they are comfortable with. The Local Authority may either undertake the enquiry itself, or it may ask another agency or individual to undertake it if they are best placed to do so. Partner agencies have a legal duty to co-operate with safeguarding enquiries.


What do Enquiries Look Like?

Enquiries are a statutory but flexible process. An enquiry could therefore range from a conversation with the individual to multi-agency meetings to plan and agree what to do. What is important is that the enquiry moves at a pace that the person is comfortable with, and they are involved and kept up to date with the actions of those involved.


Our Safeguarding Adults Code has more information on what to expect during a safeguarding enquiry.