NQSW resource - Outcome statement 7: Safeguarding

In this section:

Safeguarding: Introduction

Balance promotion of well-being and independence with duty to protect.

Safeguarding is everybody’s business. Over the years there have been cases where timely action has not been taken with tragic consequences, such as the case of Steven Hoskin – see Safeguarding adults: lessons from the murder of Steven Hoskin (Social care TV). Protecting vulnerable people is one of your key duties, and you need to be familiar with your local organisational and multi-agency policies and procedures. Safeguarding duties include children and wider family members. Reaching Out: Think Family (PDF) reinforces the duty of adult social services to support whole families as well as individuals.

You need to demonstrate your abilities to access timely information and provide early intervention. You should weigh up and balance people’s rights with your role of safeguarding and intervene where necessary.

Safeguarding adults: an independent life after long-term abuse within the family (Social care TV) is a film that looks at safeguarding from the service user’s point of view. Philip suffered physical, financial and emotional abuse in the family home for many years. Following disclosure, he was able to receive support and continues to live a full and independent life.

Safeguarding: Key practice points

  • Central to safeguarding is determining whether people are competent to make choices under The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005.
  • It is important to make a clear distinction between putting a person at risk and enabling them to manage risks appropriately. People have the right to make choices and take risks unless they are assessed as not competent. Decisions should be recorded.
  • In Control's Safeguarding tools and templates are resources designed to support you in this process.
  • People who use services say that safeguarding must be built on empowerment – or listening to the victim’s voice. Otherwise it is experienced as safety at the expense of other qualities of life.
  • The Department of Health's No secrets: guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse gives guidance to local agencies with a responsibility to investigate and take action when a vulnerable adult is believed to be suffering abuse.
  • You need to work alongside colleagues from both your own and other organisations, as well as advocates and brokers, family members and carers when taking decisions in relation to safeguarding.


We hope you will find this material helpful in your first year as a social worker. However, we recognise that this will not provide you with all the answers. You will need to discuss your practice with your supervisor, raise any ethical dilemmas and be reflective in your work. Use the Portfolio (Word file) document to record your reflection on this outcome statement.