On receipt of a phone call or adult protection referral Social Work Services are required to make inquiries under the Act.

  • Timescales for the completion of an inquiry will be agreed locally.
  • If there is an allegation of physical or sexual harm, or there are major concerns regarding the harm issues being raised, inquiries must commence immediately.
  • The police must be contacted in the first instance if staff know or believe a crime may have been committed and agreement made on how best to proceed. Given that the adult must be visited, and if possible seen alone within 24 hours, it is important that this forms part of police discussions from the outset. 

The responsible social work manager will review the referral to decide if:-

  • Immediate action is required in relation to the adult deemed to be at risk to make them safe.


  • If the case needs to progress to an investigation.

As part of this process Social Work Services should:-

  • acknowledge receipt of referral. (This may be an automated return email receipt)
  • decide if medical intervention is required
  • maintain multidisciplinary liaison during inquiries
  • inform other external agencies of the referral e.g. Care Inspectorate, Police etc. if appropriate.
  • offer appropriate support to the external agency / referrer
  • consideration must be given to other relevant legislation, where appropriate for example, Adults with Incapacity or Mental Health Care and Treatment Act.


Where there is subsequent Police involvement

Where it is decided that a criminal investigation is required the Police will undertake this.  The Police will decide if a referral to the Procurator Fiscal is appropriate.

Social Work Services and the Police should liaise over action necessary to protect the adult at risk during a Police investigation.

Social Work Services will continue to support the adult at risk and any relevant others in coordinating and monitoring any agreed protection planning.