Topic outline

  • Alert

    An Alert is identified as an expression of concern, suspicion or allegation that an adult is at risk of abuse and/or neglect or is experiencing abuse and/or neglect.

    • Alerter

      An Alerter is the person who raises the concern.

      Anyone can be an Alerter. Anyone may see abuse or neglect happening; anyone can be told about or suspect that it may be happening. Alerters can be health or social care workers; volunteers; residential or nursing home staff; police officers; council staff; community workers, members of the public, or a family member or friend of the Adult at Risk (list is not exhaustive). The responsibility of the Alerter is to pass their concern or suspicion over to their line manager or senior in charge (if they are a member of staff or volunteer) or to the Council’s Safeguarding Adults Team (if they are a member of the public, friend or family member) as soon as possible.


      • The Organisation's Safeguarding Lead

        The Organisation's Safeguarding Lead is responsible for the management and oversight of individual complex cases and coordination where allegations are made or concerns raised about a person, whether an employee, volunteer or student, paid or unpaid.  The Organisation's Safeguarding Lead should keep in regular contact with their counterparts in partner organisations. They should also have a role in highlighting the extent to which their own organisation prevents abuse and neglect taking place. They should also provide advice and guidance within their organisation, liaising with other agencies as necessary. They also monitor the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible, consistent with a thorough and fair process.

        The Organisation's Safeguarding Lead is a representative in an agency who is a key contact and support for the Local Authority. This could be to assist in directing enquiries and actions to the most appropriate person and to take forward issues in their own agency where there has been a need for the Local Authority to escalate an issue to them.


        • Raising a Concern

          The term Raising a Concern refers to the process for submitting a concern relating to harm, significant harm, abuse and/or neglect. A concern being raised will come to the Safeguarding Adults Team on a Safeguarding Adult Concern (SAC) Form which should be completed with as much detail as possible.

          • Responsible Person

            The person who receives the concern from the Alerter is called the Responsible Person. It is the role of the Responsible Person to receive and review the information provided, and any action taken, including any immediate safeguarding measures. Once concerns have been reported to the Responsible Person by the Alerter, it is important that the Alerter is reassured that their concerns have been taken seriously and acted upon accordingly. The Alerter should be given feedback as to how the concerns are being dealt with.  They can expect to know if a safeguarding enquiry is the result but not necessarily to receive detailed feedback.  It may be that this is dependent on the views of the Adult at Risk concerned and the responsibility of professionals, linked to data protection and sensitive information.

            If the matter is life-threatening or criminal activity, dial the Police on 999.

            If the matter is urgent but is not a Police matter and is out of office hours, contact the Out of Hours (Emergency) Duty Team (Sunderland Council)

            The Responsible Person should in the first instance seek support and advice in raising a concern and what to include in it from their line manager of the Organisation's Safeguarding Lead (see definition in section above) within their own agency. If advice is still required after doing this, it can be sought by contacting the Local Authority to discuss the situation.

            Where the individual is, or has been considered to be at immediate risk of abuse and/or neglect a safeguarding action plan must be in place to safeguard the person(s). Based upon the information gathered, the Responsible Person will apply the Safeguarding Threshold Matrix Guidance. This will support decision making regarding which level of harm is the most appropriate given the facts and circumstances presented, enabling action to be taken accordingly, including any further action required to safeguard the adult at risk. The Responsible Person will need to use the Safeguarding Threshold Matrix Guidance to differentiate between those situations which require instigation of the safeguarding procedures and those which are low level, tier one incidents for which other processes may be more appropriate. If the Responsible Person does not hold this level of authority in an agency or organisation and they need to defer to the Organisation's Safeguarding Lead, then this will be clear in their organisation's Individual Agency Guidance document or safeguarding procedures. The Responsible Person will act in accordance with their own individual agency guidance. All concerns will need to be reported on a Safeguarding Adults Concern (SAC) Form to the Safeguarding Adults Team and the assessed threshold indicating the level of harm must be clear.

            The Responsible Person in consultation with any persons more senior, knowledgeable or with a defined Organisation's Safeguarding Lead role, as identified in individual agency guidance, will consider the individual circumstances of the Adult at Risk and whether it would be appropriate to involve an independent advocate to support them through the process or whether in line with the Mental Capacity Act an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) would be more appropriate.

            The Responsible Person may also be the person who attends and contributes to strategy meetings on behalf of a person or agency, or supports an Adult at through the process or makes arrangements for such. This person will always need to be at an appropriate level to enable them to fully contribute, make decisions and take forward any actions, including where appropriate the need to investigate, report back and monitor. The appropriateness of this will be determined by individual agencies in line with any internal procedures and individual agency guidance, which should clearly identify roles and levels of responsibility. The Responsible Person will where appropriate consult with the Organisation's Safeguarding Lead in their agency to ensure this is managed in line with individual agency guidance. Where further specialist advice is required advice can be sourced via the Safeguarding Adults Team.

            Responsible Persons can be Care Managers, Managers or Team Managers of services or agencies, supervisors, or others as identified through Individual Agency Guidance within the organisation's Safeguarding Adults Procedures.

            • Safeguarding Manager

              The Safeguarding Manager is the designated person(s) within the Council’s Safeguarding Adults Team who coordinates the safeguarding process. Following the application of the Safeguarding Adults Threshold Risk Assessment Guidance by an agency's Responsible Person (see definition of role above), in line with responsibilities identified in their own individual agency guidance; a concern indicating the level of risk will be received into the Council. The Safeguarding Manager will review all available information including the assessed level of risk on the Safeguarding Adults Concern (SAC) Form. This and the Safeguarding Adults Threshold Risk Assessment Guidance will inform the decision as to how to proceed. The Safeguarding Manager will request involvement from and consult with partner agencies and any support services as appropriate to circumstances.