Safeguarding of vulnerable adults policy and procedure

Safeguarding adults policy statement

This policy will enable the Macular Society to demonstrate its commitment to keeping safe the vulnerable adults with whom it works alongside. The Macular Society acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse.

It is important to have the policy and procedures in place so that staff, volunteers, service users and carers, and the management committee can work to prevent abuse and know what to do in the event of abuse.

On this page:

The Policy Statement and Procedures have been drawn up in order to enable the Macular Society to:

  • Promote good practice and work in a way that can prevent harm, abuse and coercion occurring.
  • To ensure that any allegations of abuse or suspicions are dealt with appropriately and the person experiencing abuse is supported.
  • And to stop that abuse occurring.

The Policy and Procedures relate to the safeguarding of vulnerable adults. Vulnerable adults are defined as:

  • People aged 18 or over.
  • Who are receiving or may need community care services because of learning, physical or mental disability, age, or illness.
  • Who are or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

(No Secrets, Department of Health, 2000)

The policy applies to all staff, including senior managers, trustees, paid staff, volunteers, sessional workers, agency staff, students and anyone working on behalf of the Macular Society

It is acknowledged that significant numbers of vulnerable adults are abused and it is important that the Macular Society has a safeguarding vulnerable adults policy, a set of procedures to follow and puts in place preventative measures to try to reduce those numbers.

In order to implement the policy the Macular Society will work:

  • To promote the freedom and dignity of the person who has or is experiencing abuse.
  • To promote the rights of all people to live free from abuse and coercion.
  • To ensure the safety and well being of people who do not have the capacity to decide how they want to respond to abuse that they are experiencing.
  • To manage services in a way which promotes safety and prevents abuse.
  • Recruit staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made.
  • Provide effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.

The Macular Society:

  • Will ensure that all senior managers, trustees, staff, volunteers are familiar with this policy and procedures
  • Will work with other agencies where necessary in line with this policy
  • Will act within its confidentiality policy and will usually gain permission from service users before sharing information about them with another agency
  • Will pass information to an adult social services department where necessary
  • Will inform service users that, where a person is in danger, or a crime has been committed then a decision may be taken to pass information to another agency without the service user’s consent
  • Will endeavor to keep up to date with national developments relating to preventing abuse and welfare of adults
  • Will ensure that the Safeguarding Officer(s) understands his/her/their responsibility to refer incidents of adult abuse to the relevant statutory agencies (police/adult social services)

The Designated Named Persons for Safeguarding Adults in the Macular Society are:

Natalie Bale, Skills for Seeing Coordinator
Phone: 01264 321 960, email:

Kevin Franklin, Advice & Information Service Manager
Phone: 01264 321 962, email:

They should be contacted for support and advice on implementing this policy and procedures.

1. Introduction

The Macular Society provides a range of services to adults affected by all forms of macular disease. These include advice and information services to the parents of children affected by a macular condition but no services are provided directly to children or young people under the age of 18.

These procedures have been designed to ensure the welfare and protection of any adult who accesses services provided by the Macular Society. The procedures recognise that adult abuse can be a difficult subject for workers and volunteers to deal with. The Macular Society is committed to the belief that the protection of vulnerable adults from harm and abuse is everybody’s responsibility and the aim of these procedures is to ensure that all managers, trustees of the organisation, staff and volunteers act appropriately in response to any concern about adult abuse.

Although the Macular Society does not work directly with children, the procedures outlined in this policy will be applied in the case of a child or children who comes to the attention of the Macular Society as being at risk of harm or abuse. The Macular Society recognises the responsibility of everyone who comes into contact with children and families to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

2. Preventing abuse

The Macular Society is committed to putting in place safeguards and measures to reduce the likelihood of abuse taking place within the services it offers and that all those involved within the Macular Society will be treated with respect.

Therefore this policy needs to be read in conjunction with the following:

  • Staff handbook
  • Volunteer handbook
  • Equality and diversity policy
  • Whistle blowing policy
  • Data protection policy
  • Recruitment policy

The Macular Society is committed to safer recruitment policies and practices for paid staff, trustees and volunteers. This may include Disclosure and Barring Service checks for staff and volunteers,

ensuring references are taken up and adequate training on Safeguarding Adults is provided for staff and volunteers.

The organisation will work within the current legal framework for reporting staff or volunteers that are abusers.

Service users will be encouraged to become involved with the running of the organisation. Information will be available about abuse and the complaints policy and Safeguarding Adults policy statement will be available to service users and their carers/families.

3. Recognising the signs and symptoms of abuse

The Macular Society is committed to ensuring that all staff, the management committee, trustees and volunteers undertake training to gain a basic awareness of signs and symptoms of abuse. The Macular Society will ensure that the Designated Named Person and other members of staff, trustees and volunteers have access to training around Safeguarding Adults.

“Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons” (No Secrets: Department of Health, 2000)

Abuse includes:

  • Physical abuse including hitting, slapping, punching, burning, misuse of medication, inappropriate restraint.
  • Sexual abuse including rape, indecent assault, inappropriate touching and exposure to pornographic material.
  • Psychological or emotional abuse including belittling, name calling, threats of harm, intimidation, isolation.
  • Financial or material abuse including stealing, selling assets, fraud, misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
  • Neglect and acts of omission including withholding the necessities of life such as medication, food or warmth, ignoring medical or physical care needs.
  • Discriminatory abuse including racist, sexist, that based on a person’s disability and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.
  • Institutional or organisational abuse including regimented routines and cultures, unsafe practices, lack of person-centered care or treatment.
  • Lack of self-care to an extent that it threatens personal health and safety, such as not taking prescribed medication or not eating properly. Neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, or surroundings, inability or unwillingness to manage one’s personal affairs.

Abuse may be carried out deliberately or unknowingly. Abuse may be a single act or repeated acts.

People who behave abusively come from all backgrounds and walks of life. They may be doctors, nurses, social workers, advocates, staff members, volunteers or others in a position of trust. They may also be relatives, friends, neighbours or people who use the same services as the person experiencing abuse.

4. Working with vulnerable adults – specific guidelines for volunteers and staff

Risk assessments should be performed before anyone works with vulnerable adults. The Macular Society’s insurance policy will cover such assignments.

Assignments or activities involving vulnerable adults should be supervised by someone competent in planning for the age range and ability of the participants.

Volunteers should avoid working alone with a vulnerable adult wherever possible.

Staff and volunteers should not enter into any social or other non-work related arrangements with a vulnerable adult they are working with.

The exchange of gifts is not appropriate and could be considered as a bribe or inducement, and give rise to allegations of improper conduct.

Physical contact is not acceptable unless it is to prevent accident or injury or provide medical assistance. The consent of the affected person and, where appropriate, consent from those with caring responsibility should be obtained before treatment is given.

5. Designated Named Persons for safeguarding adults

The Macular Society has an appointed individual who is responsible for dealing with any adult safeguarding concerns. In their absence, a deputy will be available for workers to consult with.

The Designated Named Persons for Safeguarding Adults within the Macular Society are:

Natalie Bale, Skills for Seeing Coordinator

Tel 01264 321 960, email

Kevin Franklin, Advice & Information Service Manager

Tel 01264 321 962, email

Should either of these named people be unavailable then senior managers, trustees, staff or volunteers should contact the Chief Executive.

Cathy Yelf

Work: 01264 321973

Mobile: 07775 683 452

The roles and responsibilities of the named persons are:

  • To ensure that all staff including volunteers and trustees are aware of what they should do and who they should go to if they have concerns that a vulnerable adult may be experiencing, or has experienced abuse or neglect.
  • To ensure that concerns are acted on, clearly recorded and referred to an adult social care team where necessary.
  • To reinforce the utmost need for confidentiality and to ensure that staff and volunteers are adhering to good practice with regard to confidentiality and security. This is because it is often at the time that a person starts to challenge abuse that the risks of increasing intensity of abuse are greatest.
  • To ensure that staff and volunteers working directly with service users who have experienced abuse, or who are experiencing abuse, are well supported and receive appropriate supervision.
  • If appropriate, staff or volunteers will be given support and afforded protection if necessary under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. They will be dealt with in a fair and equitable manner and they will be kept informed of any action that has been taken and its outcome.

6. Responding to people who have experienced or are experiencing abuse

The Macular Society recognises that it has a duty to act on reports or suspicions of abuse or neglect. It also acknowledges that taking action in cases of adult abuse is never easy. The following advice is given to anyone witnessing or receiving a disclosure of abuse from the individual concerned:

  • Reassure the person concerned.
  • Listen to what they are saying.
  • Record what you have been told/witnessed as soon as possible.
  • Remain calm and do not show shock or disbelief.
  • Tell them that the information will be treated seriously.
  • Don’t start to investigate or ask detailed or probing questions.
  • Don’t promise to keep it a secret.

If you witness abuse or abuse has just taken place the priorities will be:

  • To call an ambulance if required.
  • To call the police if a crime has been committed.
  • To preserve evidence.
  • To keep yourself, staff, volunteers and service users safe.
  • To inform the Designated Named Person in your organisation.

All situations of abuse or alleged abuse will be reported to the Designated Named Person or their deputy who will record the incident and save the document to the protected safeguarding file on the Society’s server.

If it is appropriate and there is consent from the individual, or there is a good reason to override consent, such as risk to others, the Designated Named Person or their deputy will make a referral (alert) to the adult social care team within the local authority relevant to the individual.

If the individual experiencing abuse does not have capacity to consent, a referral will be made without that person’s consent, in their best interests.

If a member of the management committee, a trustee, staff member or volunteer feels unable to raise this concern with the Designated Named Person, or any senior manager, then concerns can be raised directly with an adult social care department.

The Designated Named Person will take advice from the appropriate adult social care department (local to the at-risk individual) and/or other advice-giving organisations such as the police.

Steps taken by the Macular Society when abuse is reported

  1. Incident is reported to the Designated Named Person or their deputy either verbally, by email or in writing.
  2. The Designated Named Person or their deputy will contact the adult social services team responsible for the individual and complete a referral form provided by social services if required.
  3. The Designated Named Person or their deputy will implement any actions recommended by the authorities supporting the case. In most cases, no further action is required by the Macular Society.

Out of hours reporting

Outside of normal working hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) the following procedures are followed:

In the case of an emergency where an incident of abuse has just taken place causing harm or leaving a person or persons in immediate risk

  1. Call the emergency services to report the incident
  2. Report the incident to the Designated Named Person at the first available opportunity.

In the case where abuse is suspected or reported but the individual is not in immediate danger

  1. Make notes recording the conversation or incident as accurately as possible.
  2. Report the incident verbally or by email to the Designated Named Person at the first available opportunity within working hours.

7. Managing allegations made against members of staff or volunteers

The Macular Society will ensure that any allegations made against members or member of staff will be dealt with swiftly.

Where a member of staff or a volunteer is thought to have committed a criminal offence the police will be informed. If a crime has been witnessed the police should be contacted immediately.

The safety of the individual(s) concerned is paramount. A risk assessment must be undertaken immediately to assess the level of risk to all service users posed by the alleged perpetrator. This will include whether it is safe for them to continue in their role, or any other role within the service, whilst the investigation is undertaken.

The Designated Named Person will liaise with the relevant adult social care team to discuss the best course of action and to ensure that the Macular Society’s disciplinary procedures are coordinated with any other enquiries taking place as part of the ongoing management of the allegation.

The Macular Society has a whistle blowing policy and staff are aware of this policy. Staff will be supported to use this policy.

8. Recording and managing confidential information

The Macular Society is committed to maintaining confidentiality wherever possible and information around Safeguarding Adults issues should be shared only with those who need to know. For further information, please see the Macular Society’s privacy policy.

All allegations/concerns will be recorded in the protected safeguarding file on the Society’s server. Access to this electronic file is restricted to the Designated Named Person and their deputy.

The information will be factual and not based on opinions, including a record of what the person has said, what has been seen, and witnesses if appropriate.

The information that is recorded will be kept secure and will comply with data protection regulations.

9. Disclosure and Barring Service checks

The Disclosure and Barring Service identifies certain activities as regulated. Any employee involved in regulated activity with vulnerable adults will be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

The Macular Society uses the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checking service to help assess the suitability of applicants for positions of trust.

The Society complies fully with the Code of Practice regarding the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of certificates and certificate information. Please refer to our “Handling DBS certificate information” policy for further information on our compliance with the Disclosure and Barring Service code of practice.

The supervisor of each service or activity provided by the macular Society should first seek advice from Natalie Bale, Skills for Seeing Programme coordinator, as to whether staff or volunteers require a DBS check to fulfil their role. DBS checks for staff, trustees and volunteers are administrated by a Programme Coordinator and the HR Manager. Please refer to the appendix 1 for details on employee DBS level required by job title.

10. Disseminating/Reviewing policy and procedures

This Safeguarding Adults policy will be clearly communicated to staff, trustees, volunteers, service users, parents and carers. The Designated Named Person will be responsible for ensuring that this is done.

The Safeguarding Adults policy and procedures will be reviewed annually by the Designated Names Person, the Director of Services, HR Manager and the CEO. The Designated Named Person will also ensure that any changes are clearly communicated to staff, trustees and volunteers. It may be appropriate to involve service users in the review and service users and parents/carers need to be informed of any significant changes.

Approved by: Company Secretary (Cathy Yelf)
Date: April 2021
Review: April 2022