Young woman supporting older woman

Independent Advocacy and Adult Support and Protection

Independent Advocacy can help someone going through any Adult Support and Protection (ASP) procedure. ASP investigates the circumstances around a person’s entire life, and that may involve the supporters and carers, the people that the vulnerable adult relies on for communication and daily living activities, being investigated. At a time like that it is important that an independent voice can support the vulnerable adult to have their say, to make their opinion known and to bring their influence to bear as effectively as possible.

This is a role that Independent Advocacy can fulfil.

Adult Support and Protection (ASP)

The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 provides a structure to protect vulnerable adults who may be at risk of harm. It does so through five main strands:

It provides powers to investigate the circumstances surrounding someone who has been harmed or is at risk of harm.

It places a duty on Local Authorities to carry out investigations where suspicions have been raised.

It places a duty on other organisations to co-operate with these investigations.

It provides a range of statutory orders to remedy a situation where there is a risk of harm or actual harm: Assessment Orders; Banning Orders; and Removal Orders.

It provides a basis for establishing local multi-disciplinary and multi-agency Adult Protection Committees across Scotland.

The Act defines an adult at risk as someone being aged 16 or over, and:

Unable to safeguard their own well-being, property, rights or other interests,

At risk of harm, and because they are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or physical or mental infirmity,

More vulnerable to being harmed than adults who are not so affected.

Investigations and Interventions

Adult Support and Protection investigations can take place for people living in the community, living in sheltered or supported accommodation, or living in care homes or nursing homes. The Adult Protection Committee appoints a Council Officer to carry out investigations, and many professionals refer to actions taken under the Act as ‘ASPA’ or ‘ASP’.

Inquiries and Investigations can look at possible financial abuse, neglect, physical abuse, psychological abuse or sexual abuse. The investigating officer has significant powers , and it is an offence for an organisation or an individual officer of an organisation to obstruct or prevent such an investigation.

If the Investigation finds that there is harm or a real risk of harm, the Adult Protection Committee can make an application to a Sheriff for an Order to protect the vulnerable adult. The principles underlying the Act require that any intervention must incorporate:

A benefit to the adult at risk.

Being the least restrictive option.

The wishes and feelings of the adult at risk.

The views of other people involved in their life and their care.

An opportunity for the adult at risk to participate as fully as possible, and not be treated any less favourably that someone else in similar circumstances.

Provision of information and choices for the adult at risk.

The adult at risk’s abilities, background and characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, cultural and linguistic heritage).

A Sheriff can make an order for the adult at risk:

An Assessment Order can require the adult at risk to be taken to a more suitable place for a period of up to 7 days to more properly assess their care needs and put protections in place for their vulnerability.

A Removal Order can require the adult at risk to be removed to another place for a period of up to 7 days in order to avoid harm coming to them.

A Banning Order can prevent the adult at risk from going into or being put into particular circumstances in which they might come to harm for a period of up to 6 months.