A&E (Accident & Emergency)

A common name in the UK and Ireland for the emergency department of a hospital.


This includes:

  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • psychological abuse
  • financial or material abuse
  • neglect or acts of omission
  • discriminatory and organisational abuse
  • domestic abuse
  • modern slavery
  • self-neglect

Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts.  Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it. 

ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers)

This is an organisation that leads the development of police policy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services)

The national leadership association for directors of Local Authority adult social care services.

Adult with care and support needs

This is a person who is over 18 years old and who has needs for care and support – in relation to safeguarding enquiries it is not necessary for eligibility for the provision of services to have been established nor that the care and support needs are being met at the time that the enquiry is started.


Taking actions to help people:

  • say what they want
  • secure their rights
  • represent their interests
  • obtain the services they need

Best Interests

Any act done or decision made on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity must be done in his or her best interests and regard must always be had as to whether the acts or decisions could be achieved in a less restrictive way.

Best interests decisions must take account of:

  • Whether the person concerned is likely to regain capacity in relation to the decision in question
  • The participation of the person in the decision as far as this is practicable
  • In cases of life-sustaining treatment the decision must not be motivated by a desire to bring about the person’s death
  • The past and present feelings and beliefs of the person
  • The views of people engaged in caring for the person or in his or her welfare or any person holding an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney or a court appointed deputy

Care management

The process of assessment of need, planning and co-ordinating care for people with physical and/or mental impairments to meet their long-term care needs, improve their quality of life and maintain their independence for as long as possible.

Care setting/services

This includes:

  • health care
  • nursing care
  • social care
  • domiciliary care
  • social activities
  • support setting
  • emotional support
  • housing support
  • emergency housing
  • befriending and advice services
  • services provided in someone’s own home by an organisation or paid employee for a person by means of a personal budget (PB), direct payment or funded by the person themselves.


Refers to unpaid carers for example, relatives or friends of the adult at risk. Paid workers, including personal assistants, whose job title may be ‘carer’, are called ‘staff’.

Case conference

A multi-agency meeting held to discuss the outcome of the investigation or assessment and to put in place a protection or safety plan.

CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group)

CCGs manage the provision of primary care services in a specific area. These include services provided by doctors’ surgeries, dental practices, opticians and pharmacies. NHS walk-in centres and the NHS Direct phone service are also managed by the local PCT.

Clinical governance

The framework through which the National Health Service (NHS) improves the quality of its services and ensures high standards of care.


The voluntary and continuing permission of the person to the intervention based on an adequate knowledge of the purpose, nature, likely effects and risks of that intervention, including the likelihood of its success and any alternatives to it.

CPA (Care Programme Approach)

Introduced in England by the DH (Department of Health) in 1990 the CPA requires health authorities, in collaboration with social services departments, to put in place specified arrangements for the care and treatment of people with mental ill health in the community.

CPS (Crown Prosecution Service)

The government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

CQC (Care Quality Commission)

Responsible for the registration and regulation of health and social care in England.

DH (Department of Health)

The government strategic leadership for public health, the NHS and social care in England.

DHR (Domestic Homicide Review)

A review of the circumstances in which the death of a person aged 16 or over has, or appears to have, resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by

  • (a) a person to whom she or he was related or with whom she or he was or had been in an intimate personal relationship, or
  • (b) a member of the same household as herself or himself

A DHR is held with a view to identifying the lessons to be learned from the death.

Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS)

The statutory organisation responsible for barring unsuitable staff from the children’s and adult’s workforce. Referrals are normally made by employers following investigation into misconduct but other statutory agencies can also refer in certain circumstances. Staff who are to be employed in regulated activity must be checked against the barred list prior to taking up employment.

DoLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards)

Provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 amended by the Mental Health Act 2007 which permit a person who lacks mental capacity to be deprived of his or her liberty in a hospital or care home where this is in the person’s best interests and has been authorised by the relevant Local Authority following a series of assessments or where an urgent authorisation has been issued to enable assessments to take place.

Domestic Abuse

An incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Domestic Abuse includes any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

DPA (Data Protection Act 1998)

An Act to make provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to individuals, including the obtaining, holding, use or disclosure of such information.

DVCVA (Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004)

An Act concerned with criminal justice and concentrates upon legal protection and assistance to victims of crime, particularly domestic violence. It also expands the provision for trials without a jury, brings in new rules for trials for causing the death of a child or vulnerable adult and permits bailiffs to use force to enter homes.

DVCV(A)A) (Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012)

Act to amend section 5 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 to include serious harm to a child or vulnerable adult: to make consequential amendments to the act; and for connected purposes.

DVPO (Domestic Violence Protection Order)

An order applied for by the police and made by the Magistrates' Court for up to 28 days to control access by a perpetrator of domestic abuse to a person they might harm.

DWP (Department for Work and Pensions)

A government department responsible for welfare and employment issues.

Emergency duty officer

The social worker on duty in the emergency duty team (EDT) or out of hour’s service.

Emergency duty team

A social services team that responds to out-of-hours referrals where intervention from the council is required to protect a child or adult at risk, and where it would not be safe, appropriate or lawful to delay that intervention to the next working day.

Enhanced Provider Monitoring (EPM)

This was formerly described as 'Large Scale Investigation' and is the process that will be followed where there are concerns about institutional abuse and/or provider failure. This offers a framework for multi-agency discussion and engagement with the provider to assist in service improvement or to manage the risks of service pressures.

Enquiry Review Meeting

A meeting that brings together staff involved in the enquiry process and other relevant people to:

  • review the safeguarding plan
  • review progress of the investigation
  • share information
  • agree further action

This meeting will be as inclusive as the circumstances permit and may include the participation of the service user or their advocate but in all cases will ensure that the service user’s views are fully included.


Any information in the form of:

  • statements from the adult, alleged abuser(s) or other witnesses
  • documents
  • pictures
  • visual
  • records

which enable a conclusion to be made about the truth of an allegation.

In the case of a criminal investigation the evidence presented to a court would need to establish ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that the crime has been committed before a conviction could be made.

Where there are disciplinary or civil proceedings the evidence needs to demonstrate that the allegation is demonstrated ‘on the balance of probability’. 

In assessments and enquiries by social care and health staff, professional judgements will also be made on the basis of the balance of probability as it is on this basis that future challenges might ultimately be determined either through a complaints process or through application to a court.

FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)

Defined by the World Health Organisation as ‘all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.’

FGMA (Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003)

An Act to restate and amend the law relating to female genital mutilation.

GP (General Practitioner)

A general practitioner is a doctor who is responsible for diagnosing and treating a variety of injuries and diseases that fall under the general practice category. General practitioners (GPs) work in primary care. They are usually commissioned by primary care organisations, such as primary care trusts or clinical commissioning groups to deliver services.


Not only ill-treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill-treatment that are not physical) but also the impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in physical or mental health and the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.


A government funded organisation that acts as anindependent consumer champion for health and social care in a local area. Healthwatch argues for the consumer interests of those using health and social care services across its area, and gives local people an opportunity to speak out about their concerns and health care priorities.

HMIPs (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons)

An independent inspectorate which reports on conditions for and treatment of those in prison, young offender institutions and immigration detention facilities.

HR (Human Resources)

The division of an organisation that is focused on activities relating to employees. These activities normally include:

  • recruiting and hiring of new employees
  • induction and training of current employees
  • employee benefits
  • retention

Formerly called Personnel.

HRA (Human Rights Act 2000)

Legislation introduced into domestic law for the whole of the UK in October 2000, in order to comply with the obligations set out in European Convention of Human Rights.

HSCA (Health and Social Care Act 2012)

Provides legislative changes to the health and care system including giving GPs and other clinicians the primary responsibility for commissioning health care.

HSE (Health and Safety Executive)

A national independent regulator that aims to reduce work-related death and serious injury across workplaces in the UK.

Ill treatment

Section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 introduced a new offence of ill treatment of a person who lacks mental capacity by someone who is caring for them or acting as a deputy or attorney for them. That person can be guilty of ill treatment if they have deliberately ill-treated a person who lacks capacity, or been reckless as to whether they were ill-treating the person or not. It does not matter whether the behaviour was likely to cause, or actually caused, harm or damage to the victim’s health.

IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Adviser)

A trained support worker who provides assistance and advice to victims of domestic violence.

IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocate)

Established by the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 IMCAs are mainly instructed to represent people where there is no one independent of services, such as family or friend, who is able to represent them. IMCAs are a legal safeguard for people who lack the mental capacity to make specific important decisions about:

  • where they live
  • serious medical treatment options
  • care reviews
  • adult safeguarding concerns

Inherent jurisdiction of the High Court

The High Court can make orders to protect people who may be intimidated, coerced or otherwise unable to act on a decision to protect themselves against harm.

IPCC (The Independent Police Complaints Commission)

Oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales. It is independent, making its decisions entirely independently of the police, government and complainants.


Someone appointed by the courts to help a vulnerable witness give their evidence either in a police interview or in court.

Investigation or assessment

A process to gather evidence to determine whether abuse has taken place and/or whether there is ongoing risk of harm to the adult at risk. In some local authorities this may be referred to as an ‘inquiry’.

Large Scale Enquiries or Investigations (LSE/LSI) (not Section 42 or Care Act 2014)

Now replaced in these procedures by the Enhanced Provider Monitoring process.

Local Authority Contact Centre

The place where safeguarding alerts are raised within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

  • For Staffordshire the number is 0845 604 2719
  • For Stoke-on-Trent the number is 0800 561 0015

Managing officer

A professional or manager employed by the Local Authority who will be involved in:

MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements)

Statutory arrangements for managing sexual and violent offenders.

MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference)

The multi-agency forum of organisations that manage high-risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’- based violence.

Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

The MASH is a building hosted by Staffordshire Police, where a number of statutory agencies have co-located their staff to facilitate information-sharing and shared risk assessment and planning in connection with the abuse of vulnerable people.

Partners who are currently based at the MASH include:

  • Staffordshire County Council
  • Stoke-on-Trent City Council
  • North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Partnership Trust
  • South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • National Probation Service

The MASH serves children as well as adults.

Mental capacity

The ability to make specific decisions about health, welfare, property and affairs at a given time. 

Where it is believed that a person may not be able to make the specific decision an assessment of their capacity will be required and this must demonstrate that this is caused by an impairment or disturbance in the functioning of the mind or brain.

A lack of capacity cannot be established merely by reference to age, appearance, a condition or an aspect of behaviour.

MCA (Mental Capacity Act 2005)

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework to empower and protect people aged 16 and over who lack, or may lack, capacity to make certain decisions for themselves because of illness, a learning disability, or mental health problems. The act was fully implemented in October 2007 and applies in England and Wales.

MHA (Mental Health Act 2007)

Amends the Mental Health Act 1983 (the 1983 Act), the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. This includes changing the way the 1983 Act defines mental disorder, so that a single definition applies throughout the Act, and abolishes references to categories of disorder.

Mental Health Team

A team of professionals and support staff who provide specialist mental health services to people within their community.

National Health Service (NHS)

The publicly funded health care system in the UK.

OASys (Offender Assessment System)

A standardised process for the assessment of offenders, developed jointly by the Probation and the Prison Services.

OPG (Office of the Public Guardian)

Established in October 2007, the OPG supports the Public Guardian in registering enduring powers of attorney, lasting powers of attorney and in supervising Court of Protection appointed deputies.

PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984)

This Act and the PACE codes of practice provide the core framework of police powers and safeguards around stop and search, arrest, detention, investigation, identification and interviewing detainees.

PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)

A body created to provide advice and support to National Health Service (NHS) patients and their relatives and carers.

Personal budget (PB)

This is money allocated for social care services, allocated based on the needs of the individual following an assessment. They could be managed by councils or another organisation (such as a Primary Care Trust or PCT) on behalf of individuals. They could also be paid as a direct payment, or a mixture of both.

PIDA (Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998)

An Act to protect individuals who make certain disclosures of information in the public interest; to allow such individuals to bring action in respect of victimisation; and for connected purposes.

POT (Position of Trust)

Someone in a position of trust who works with or cares for adults with care and support needs in a paid or voluntary capacity. This includes ‘shared lives’ carers (previously known as adult placement carers).

Planning Discussion

The initial discussion(s) between the investigating and other relevant agencies to:

  • clarify concerns
  • identify the harm and the current risk
  • agree an interim protection plan
  • plan the enquiry.

The planning discussion can be either a meeting or a series of telephone conversations.


The generic term used in these pages will normally refer to Staffordshire Police but on occasion other local and national police forces will be involved.

Potential Source of Risk

Any individual who is believed to be responsible for, or implicated in, the abuse of an adult.  This may include:

  • relatives and family members
  • professional staff
  • paid care workers
  • volunteers
  • other service users
  • neighbours, friends and associates
  • people who deliberately exploit vulnerable people and strangers

This term applies equally to people who are believed to have abused an adult irrespective of whether the abuse was done intentionally or unintentionally.

PPO (Police, Prison and Probation Ombudsman)

Appointed by the Home Secretary, and is an independent point of appeal for prisoners and those supervised by the Probation Service. It will take appeals from offenders and ex-offenders who are not satisfied with the handling of a complaint by the Prison Service, a prison or the National Probation Service.

PPUs (Public Protection Units)

The units within the police forces across the West Midlands area that deal with safeguarding adults and children in the areas of high-risk domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, adult abuse and registered sex offender management.

Prioritising Need

A system for deciding how much support people with social care needs can expect to help them cope and keep them fit and well. Its aim is to help social care workers make fair and consistent decisions about the level of support needed, and whether the local council should pay for this.

Professional Body

A registering body that has oversight of the practice and standards of a profession or a group of professionals. Examples include:

  • General Medical Council (GMC)
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Public interest

A decision about what is in the public interest needs to be made by balancing the rights of the individual to privacy with the rights of others or society as a whole to protection.

QAF (Quality Assessment Framework)

This was introduced in 2003 and sets out the standards expected in the delivery of Supporting People services.

QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention)

Department of Health (DH) initiative to help National Health Service (NHS) organisations to deliver sustainable services in better, more cost-efficient ways.

RCP (Royal College of Psychiatrists)

An independent professional membership organisation and registered charity, representing over 27,000 physicians in the UK and internationally.


The process of re-examining a safeguarding plan and its effectiveness.

SAB (Safeguarding Adults Board)

The SAB represents various organisations in a Local Authority who are involved in safeguarding adults.

Safe Lives (formerly Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse, CAADA)

A national charity supporting a strong multi-agency response to domestic violence. The CAADA-DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour-based violence) risk identification checklist (RIC) was developed by CAADA and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Safeguarding Adults

The term used to describe all work to help adults with care and support needs stay safe from significant harm. It replaces ‘adult protection’. 

Safeguarding Adults co-ordinator or lead or manager

These titles or similar are used to describe an individual who has Safeguarding Lead responsibilities across an authority. For example, supporting the work of the Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) and/or advising on Safeguarding Adults cases in the Local Authority. The role varies from council to council, and carries different titles.

Safeguarding Concern

Any concern raised with the Local Authority by any person that a person with care and support needs is experiencing abuse or is at risk of abuse.

Safeguarding Enquiry

The process undertaken in accordance with the duty under Section 42 of the Care Act 2014 to:

  • establish the facts of the case
  • ascertain the adult’s views and wishes
  • assess the needs of the adult for protection, support and redress and how they might be met
  • protect the adult from the abuse and neglect, in accordance with the wishes of the adult
  • make decisions as to what follow-up action should be taken regarding the person or organisation responsible for the abuse or neglect
  • enable the adult to achieve resolution and recovery

The duty to make an enquiry lies with the Local Authority but it can ‘cause enquiry to be made’ by other agencies and consideration will be made on a case by case basis as to who the appropriate person would be to undertake the enquiry.

Safeguarding Officer

Describes an officer of the Local Authority to whom an enquiry under Section 42 of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 has been directly assigned.

Safeguarding Plan

The planned actions that will be taken to assist the adult to protect themselves from the risk of abuse and to achieve the desired objectives. This will be a written plan that clearly outlines the protective measures that will be put into place to ensure that the person with care and support needs is protected from abuse in future. This will include clearly ascribed outcomes as well as the roles and responsibilities for those involved and will include arrangements to address contingencies.

SAR (Safeguarding Adults Review)

A review of the practice of agencies involved in a safeguarding matter. It is commissioned by the Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) when a serious incident or incidents of adult abuse takes place or is suspected. The aim is for agencies and individuals to learn lessons to improve the way they work.

SIRI (Serious Incident Requiring Investigation)

A term used by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) in its national framework for serious incidents in the National Health Service (NHS) requiring investigation. It is defined as an incident that occurred in relation to NHS-funded services resulting in serious harm or unexpected or avoidable death of one or more patients, staff, visitors or members of the public.

SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency)

A non-departmental public body of the government with a remit to tackle serious organised crime.

Social Care

The directorate or section within the Local Authority with social services responsibility that is responsible for assessment, care and support provision for adults under the Care Act 2014.

Local Authority responsibilities have been delegated in some cases to NHS Trusts or to other providers.  The commissioning of these services is often based on an agreement under section 79 of the Care Act 2014.  In relation to safeguarding enquiries the responsibility of the Local Authority cannot be delegated but other agencies can undertake enquiries when caused to do so by the Local Authority. Otherwise, wherever this delegated authority and function exists these agencies will carry the same social care responsibilities.

Special Measures

Adherence to the guidance on the treatment of vulnerable witnesses in accordance with the guidance set out in 'Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings: Guidance on interviewing victims and witnesses and using special measures'.

Examples of special measures include:

  • the use of video recorded interviews
  • involvement of trained intermediaries
  • giving evidence by video link
  • adaptations to courtroom processes to accommodate issues of disability and intimidation and improve the quality of evidence given by the witness


Paid workers, including personal assistants, whose job title may be ‘carer’, are called ‘staff’. Volunteers are also classed as staff. (See also carer).

ULO (user-led organisation)

An organisation that is run and controlled by people who use support services including:

  • disabled people
  • mental health service users
  • people with learning difficulties
  • older people
  • their families and carers

Vital interest

A term used in the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 to permit sharing of information where it is critical to prevent serious harm or distress, or in life-threatening situations.


A person who works unpaid in a care setting or service.


A broad concept to which the following contribute:

  • personal dignity
  • physical and mental health
  • protection from abuse and neglect
  • control over day to day life
  • participation in work
  • education or recreation
  • social and economic factors
  • domestic, family and personal life
  • suitable accommodation
  • making a contribution to society

The Care Act 2014 sees wellbeing as a key concept in identifying the success of care and support outcomes.

Wilful neglect

An intentional or deliberate omission or failure to carry out an act of care by someone who has care of a person who lacks capacity to care for themselves. Section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) makes it a specific criminal offence to wilfully ill-treat or neglect a person who lacks capacity.

YJCEA (Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act)

An Act to provide for:

  • the referral of offenders under 18 to youth offender panels
  • to make provision in connection with the giving of evidence or information for the purposes of criminal proceedings
  • to amend section 51 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
  • to make pre-consolidation amendments relating to youth justice and for connected purposes

This includes special measures directions in case of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, defined as:

'A person suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983 or who otherwise has a significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning.  A person who has a physical disability or disorder'.