This glossary is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be prescriptive. Full statutory definitions of many of the terms are contained in Section 53 of the Act and it is those that should be used in any process or situation where precise definition is required.


Adjacent place: A place near, or next to any place where an adult at risk may be, such as a garage outbuildings etc.

Adult: (Section 53): An individual aged 16 or over.

Adult at risk: (Please refer to Chapter 1 for further information for an explanation of the full definition)

Adult Protection Committee: (Section 42) (APC): A committee established by a Council to safeguard adults at risk in its area.

Assessment order: (Section 11): Order granted by a sheriff to help the Council to decide whether the person is an adult at risk and, if so, whether it needs to do anything to protect the person from harm.

Banning order: (Section 19): Order granted by a sheriff to ban a person from being in a specified place or area. The order may have specified conditions attached. The banned person can be any age, including a child.

Care Commission (now Care Inspectorate): Section 53: The Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care.

Child: (Section 53): A person under the age of 16.

Conduct: (Section 53): Includes neglect and other failures to act.

Council: (Section 53): A council constituted under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1994. References to a council in relation to any person known or believed to be an adult at risk mean the council for the area which the person is for the time being in.

Council nominee: (Section 11(1)(a) and 14(1)(a)): An individual who is not a Council Officer under Section 52 of the Act, nominated by the council to either interview the adult under an assessment order or to move the adult under a removal order.

Council Officer: (Section 53): An individual appointed by a council under Section 64 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c. 65) but the term must, where relevant, also be interpreted in accordance with any order made under Section 52(1).70

Court day: (Section 53): A weekday (Monday to Friday) unless it has been designated a ‘court holiday’ (usually a bank holiday or a local holiday).

Harm: (Section 53): Includes all harmful conduct. This includes conduct that causes physical or psychological harm, unlawful conduct that adversely affects property, rights or interests possessions, conduct that causes self-harm.

Health professional: (Sections 52(2) and 53): The person is a doctor, nurse, midwife or other type of individual prescribed by the Scottish Ministers.

Inquiry: An inquiry is any process that has the aim of gathering knowledge and information. This could include inquiries of any relevant party and the co-operation of the public bodies and office holders under Section 5 of the Act. The purpose of making inquiries is to ascertain whether adults are at risk of harm and whether the council may need to intervene or provide any support or assistance to the adult or any carer.

Investigation: An investigation follows on from an inquiry. Investigations are carried out for the purpose of supporting or assisting the adult or making necessary interventions, whilst acting in accordance with the principles of the Act.

Parental responsibilities and rights: (Section 53): As provided for in Sections 1 and 2 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

Power of arrest: (Section 25): Can be attached to a banning order at the time when the order is granted or at the same time as an application is made to vary the order.

Relevant Health Board: (Section 53): In relation to any council, means any Health Board or Special Health Board constituted by order under Section 2 of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 (c.29) which exercises functions in relation to the council’s area.

Removal Order: (Section 14): An order granted by a sheriff authorising a Council Officer or council nominee to move a named person to a specified place within 72 hours of the order being made and the council to take reasonable steps to protect the moved person from harm. The order can be for any specified period for up to 7 days.

Responsible Social Work Manager: for the purposes of this guidance this term has been used as a generic term to describe the person charged with managing the adult protection procedures following a referral to a Council. (WOS Councils use various terms to describe this person i.e. Senior Social Worker/Team Leader etc.)

Subordinate legislation: Statutory legislation (usually in the form of regulations) which may be made by Ministers under enabling powers within an Act of the Scottish Parliament to clarify and implement the details of an Act?

Temporary Banning order: (Section 21): An order granted by a sheriff pending determination of an application for a banning order. The order may specify the same conditions as a banning order.

The 2007 Act: The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act, 2007.

Visit: A visit by a Council Officer under Sections 7, 16 or 18 (including warrant entry) unless the contrary intention appears.

Warrant for entry: (Section 37): A warrant that authorises a Council Officer to visit any specified place under Section 7 or 16 together with a constable. The constable may do anything, including the use of force where necessary.