Protecting adults at risk in London: Good practice resource

Risk assessment: Key stages for the completion or review of risk

Alert stage

A risk assessment should be carried out as part of initial enquiries when the presenting risks indicate safeguarding concerns. There should be a continuous assessment of the severity of impact and the likelihood of harm for any action throughout the safeguarding risk assessment process. This will help to calculate risks and weigh these against the benefits of the action. As information is often limited at the alert stage, this may not be a complete assessment. However, a risk assessment will help to determine if the adult safeguarding process is the most appropriate response and if any immediate action is required prior to the strategy meeting.

Strategy meeting/discussion

The risk assessment may be added to and revised on the basis of new information. The assessment should be used to inform any interim protection plan put in place to safeguard the adult(s) at risk.

The investigation

Information gathered at this stage of the process will indicate whether the person is at risk of significant harm now and in the future. The risk assessment should also include more evaluation of risk and must include the person’s own views, wherever possible, so that the case conference has a full picture to base risk decisions on.

The case conference

The nature of the risk – and whether it has previously occurred – should be specified at the conference. The conference should also state the likelihood of the risk escalating and/or reoccurring now or in the near future and the severity of the impact on the person if the harm occurs. Any discussions about risk should be person-centred, and involve multi-disciplinary approaches.


The effectiveness of the protection plan should inform the risk assessment. It should be revised to reflect any new risks identified, risks now removed or risks reduced. There should be ongoing discussions with the person and their carers if appropriate, about their perception of the risks. Comparing one risk assessment with another will provide evidence of the effectiveness of the safeguarding intervention.