What happens after you have raised a safeguarding concern

A social worker will pick up your concern. Their first priority will be to establish an understanding of the vulnerable adult at risk and the circumstances by contacting both the referrer and the person the concern relates to.

The social worker will aim to do this within 2 working days of the concern being raised, including an update to the referrer.

However, if the adult at risk is in immediate danger or unable to protect themselves from the risk of abuse or harm due to their vulnerabilities, the social worker will take immediate action to safeguard them (make safe) with their agreement and the help of other professionals such as health or police as appropriate.

If after gathering information from all relevant people, the social worker determines it is not an safeguarding issue and does not meet our criteria for reporting abuse, the social worker will close the concern (including redirection to other agencies as appropriate) and feedback to the appropriate people explaining why.

Where it has been established it is a safeguarding issue that meets the councils criteria, the social worker will undertake further work to establish facts and gather information across all our Partners where relevant. We will always speak to the adult at risk to seek their consent and wishes and desired outcomes and to explain what will happen next.

Both the adult at risk and referrer will be kept informed by the social worker of what is being done and why. The referrer may not always receive full details due to privacy reasons such as the consent of the adult at risk or information sensitivity.

If the adult lacks capacity to understand their situation and risks to their safety and wellbeing, the social worker may consider actions in the adult's 'best interest' and the least restrictive option to safeguard them. If the individual does not have a representative, the social worker may also arrange for an Advocate by making a referral to Advocacy services. An advocate will listen, provide information and explain options, assisting the adult at risk to reach their own decisions and support them in expressing their views. 

If the adult is still at risk of abuse the social worker will establish what can be done to prevent the abuse by putting a Safeguarding Plan in place. The plan will identify what can be done to prevent the abuse or reduce the possibility for further abuse. The social worker will work with all appropriate agencies (e.g. police, health staff or care providers) to ensure key actions are undertaken for ensuring safety of the individual. If we think the adult at risk is now safe, the case will be closed as a safeguarding issue and the relevant updates will be provided to the adult and the referrer. We aim to achieve this within 7 working days.

Further enquiry

If it is established by the social worker that further investigation into the abuse is required, particularly where the issues are complex, high risk or where multiple vulnerable adults are at risk, a longer enquiry process will be progressed. This can take up to 28 working days. However, there may be instances where due to the complexity of the investigation, a longer timeframe may be necessary.

The social worker will always liaise with the adult at risk throughout this process to enhance their involvement, choice and control as well as improving quality of life, wellbeing and safety. The social worker will provide progress updates and an indication of timescales. They will also aim to update the referrer if appropriate, however this may not always be possible.

There may be circumstances where the social worker may call on the care provider or hospital staff (as appropriate) to undertake aspects of the enquiry with the social worker's oversight. A full investigation of information will be undertaken, including access to care records and they will also talk to anyone needed to help find out what happened. This can include family members, employed staff and other professionals.

There may be meetings required during the enquiry. The adult at risk will always be invited to meetings about them and they can bring someone with them to help support them. If they are unable to attend, a representative/advocate can go on their behalf. The adult at risk will always be contacted by the social worker to hear their views and be told what will happen next.


At the end of the enquiry, the adult will be asked about their views on the outcomes and if they are satisfied with the actions undertaken to keep them safe and promote their wellbeing. The referrer will also be provided with an update on the outcome. There may be instances where the referrer is not told the details of the outcome. This would be at the discretion of the social worker and the wishes of the adult.

All information about the individual and enquiry will be recorded on the our confidential and secure care system.