Everyone working in adult social care needs to understand their own responsibilities for the safety of the people they support.

Safeguarding adults means protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.

Legislation such as the Care Act means you need to understand your responsibilities, develop your workforce to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect to adults who need care and support, and safeguard adults in a way that recognises their choice and control.

Everyone working in adult social care, including leaders, managers and front line care workers, needs to understand their own responsibilities for the safety of the people they support, and must have the right skills and knowledge to recognise and respond effectively to potential abuse or neglect

We have practical resources and guidance to help. 


If you’re a leader or manager our ‘Guide to adult safeguarding’ explains some of the key aspects of safeguarding in your workplace.

As an adult social care manager or leader you need to understand your responsibilities around safeguarding and the standards you need to follow. You can find them by contacting your local safeguarding board who will have a set of policies and procedures as guided by the Care Act. Think about how these policies and procedures are relevant to your service. You can also contact them for advice or support.

All adult social care managers and leaders need to have the right skills and knowledge to do this. Your local safeguarding adults board might offer training, or you could offer training across your organisation. 


We asked adult social care providers who have a good or outstanding CQC rating how they achieved this. Here’s some of the recommendations they made regarding adult safeguarding.

  • Involve people who need care and support in discussions about their safety. Understand what makes people feel safe and document this in their care plans.
  • Ensure there’s a culture of openness and staff are confident that any allegations made would be fully investigated to ensure people are protected.
  • Ensure all safeguarding incidents are investigated in an open and transparent way.
  • Clearly document evidence of safeguarding incidents, including how they were dealt with, if any agencies were involved and any follow up action or learning. Some of the key records for adult safeguarding are risk assessments, care plans, observations, financial transactions, complaints, medication, rosters and logs and training and supervision notes.
  • Review safeguarding incidents collectively to identify trends.
  • Ensure staff and people who need care and support know how to ‘blow the whistle’ on poor practice without recrimination.
  • Ensure safeguarding notifications are sent to CQC as required.
  • Ensure the registered manager is in regular contact with their local safeguarding team.
  • Share your knowledge and experience of adult safeguarding through local groups, networks or member organisations.
  • Understand what CQC inspectors consider to be evidence of effective adult safeguarding. You can find this here.
  • Make sure everyone knows what to do if they suspect someone is being abused or neglected. You could:
    • display a safeguarding adults policy as well as a clear and up-to date whistle blowing policy for staff, people who need care and support and visitors
    • include information about safeguarding in your marketing materials, website and customer welcome pack.

You can read more in our ‘Good and outstanding care’ guide here – it talks about safeguarding in section S1 on page 63. 

A big part of your safeguarding responsibilities is ensuring that your workforce, including any volunteers and non-care staff, have the right skills and knowledge to recognise actual or potential abuse or neglect.

You can do this by:

  • including safeguarding in induction
  • regularly checking staff understanding and practice
  • having a safeguarding champion, whose role is to be a specialist in this area, researching best practice and providing staff with advice and support
  • regularly including safeguarding discussions in staff supervision and team meeting – you could collect and share case studies or practice stories to show how staff should respond in different scenarios
  • being open about your approach to safeguarding with people using your services and their families
  • commissioning high quality training:
    • ensure that learning providers understand safeguarding from an adult social care perspective, and in the context of your service
    • understand how the training meets the requirements of people who use your service
    • work with learning providers who’ll share knowledge across your whole organisation rather than limiting it to a computer screen.

Our 'Learning and development guide' will help you find and purchase high quality training. You can also find an endorsed learning provider on our online directory, who've show their commitment to high quality learning and development in the sector. 

Resources to help

What do I need to know about safeguarding adults key cards outline the key questions that social care workers need to know about safeguarding in their workplace. Workers should research the answers, discuss them with colleagues or their manager, and write the correct answers in the gaps on these pocket sized key cards. You can use them in induction to support the Care Certificate, team meetings and ongoing learning and development. 

There's also a support document for workers to reflect on their thoughts and ensure they write the correct answers on the key cards, and for managers to check workers have understood the questions. 

Paper copies

You can download these documents free of charge, or you can buy paper copies from our online bookshop - they cost £14.50 for 20 key cards.


The role of Safeguarding Adults Board chair 

This guide explains the role of the Safeguarding Adults Board chair, including the functions of the role, the knowledge and skills needed and how chairs can develop their knowledge and skills.

It supports adult social care employers and other agencies which are represented on Safeguarding Adults Boards, to develop a chair’s role (including writing a job description), recruit a chair and support their continuing professional development and learning requirements.

Download the guide here. 

Other resources to help


The Mental Capacity Act 2005 empowers and protects people who don’t have the ability to make all their own decisions, especially for things like finance, social care, medical treatment and living arrangements.

The Mental Capacity Act plays a crucial role in adult safeguarding as it provides a framework for decision making to balance independence and protection.

For example it can help to determine the ability of a vulnerable adult to make their own lifestyle choices, such as choosing to stay in a situation where they risk abuse, or determine whether a particular act is abusive or consensual.

Everyone working in adult social care should have an awareness of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and how it impacts their role. Find out how we can help here.


If pressure ulcers are the result of neglect, poor care or aren’t treated properly, this can be a safeguarding issue.

Preventing pressure ulcers should be part of your safeguarding responsibilities. They can cause great harm to people who access care and support, and are usually preventable by staff who have the right skills and knowledge.

Visit our pressure ulcers web page to find useful resources to help you and your workforce learn more.