1. Introduction

Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP) is about professionals talking with adults and their carers about how they may all respond in safeguarding situations in a way that enhances the adult’s involvement, choice and control as well as improving their quality of life, wellbeing and safety. It means professionals seeing adults as experts in their own lives and work with them in order to enable them to reach the best possible resolution of their circumstances. It is also about collecting data to find out whether this change in approach has a positive impact on people’s lives.

‘MSP seeks to achieve:

  • a personalised approach that enables safeguarding to be done with, not to, people;
  • practice that focuses on achieving meaningful improvement to people’s circumstances rather than just on ‘investigation’ and ‘conclusion’;
  • an approach that utilises social work skills rather than just ‘putting people through a process’;
  • an approach that enables practitioners, families, teams and SABs to know what difference has been made.’ (LGA)

MSP is led by the Local Government Association (LGA) Safeguarding Adults Programme and by Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). This work aims to shift emphasis from processes to a commitment to improving outcomes for people at risk of harm.

The Care and Support Statutory Guidance also states:

‘…it is also important that all safeguarding partners take a broad community approach to establishing safeguarding arrangements. It is vital that all organisations recognise that adult safeguarding arrangements are there to protect individuals. We all have different preferences, histories, circumstances and life-styles, so it is unhelpful to prescribe a process that must be followed whenever a concern is raised …. Making safeguarding personal means it should be person-led and outcome-focused. It engages the person in a conversation about how best to respond to their safeguarding situation in a way that enhances involvement, choice and control as well as improving quality of life, wellbeing and safety. Nevertheless, there are key issues that local authorities and their partners should consider. See diagrams 1A and 1B after para. 14.92 if they suspect or are made aware of abuse or neglect. See paragraph 14.231 for more detail about what such guidelines should cover’ (para 14.14-14.15)

2. Key Areas

MSP can essentially be divided into a number of key areas:

  • effectiveness: it is a shift in culture and practice in response to what makes safeguarding more or less effective from the perspective of the person being safeguarded.
  • person led and outcome focused: it means the safeguarding process should be person-led and outcome- focused. It should engage the person in a conversation about how best to respond to their safeguarding situation in a way that enhances involvement, choice and control as well as improving quality of life, wellbeing and safety.
  • improving outcomes: it aims to facilitate a shift in emphasis in safeguarding from undertaking a process to a commitment to improving outcomes alongside people experiencing abuse or neglect. The key focus is on developing a real understanding of what people wish to achieve, agreeing, negotiating and recording their desired outcomes, working out with them (and their representatives or advocates if they lack capacity) how best those outcomes might be realised and then seeing, at the end, the extent to which desired outcomes have been realised. This approach involves adults being encouraged to define their own meaningful improvements to change their circumstances and then to be involved throughout the safeguarding investigation, support planning and response.
  • person centred: it also aims to encourage practice that puts the person more in control and generates a more person centred set of responses and outcomes. Having a person centred approach involves:
    • shifting from a process supported by conversations to a series of conversations supported by a process
    • collecting information about the extent to which this shift has a positive impact on people’s lives;
    • seeing people as experts in their own lives and working alongside them.

In this way the outcomes focus is integral to practice and the recording of practice in turn generates information about outcomes. This information needs to be capable of being aggregated for Safeguarding Adults Boards.

This work is ongoing; evaluation reports from previous years’ MSP work nationally are available via Local Government Association: Making Safeguarding Personal. 

3. Safeguarding Outcomes

A high quality service must be one which keeps people safe from harm. In setting out safeguarding as one of the domains in the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF), reflects this priority, and emphasises the need for services to safeguard adults whose circumstances make them vulnerable and protect them from avoidable harm. Findings from this work highlight that adults very much appreciated being asked about their experiences.

As a bench marking tool used by the sector to drive up standards, the ASCOF is a key part of the Care Act’s implementation and evaluation; demonstrating how the Act has impacted on key outcomes for people using services and their carers.

Linking into the implementation of the Care Act and other sector led priorities for safeguarding adults, many local authorities are now exploring how to mainstream the MSP approach to safeguarding practice and policy.

During the period 2015-17, ADASS commissioned an assessment to gauge the progress of MSP in local areas, as well as to support people to embed it within their local authority, their SAB and their partners. See the Making Safeguarding Personal Temperature Check 2016. The results showed a positive picture of dedication and innovation, with progress being made on the previous two year period. Most of those interviewed had embedded MSP into mainstream services and were achieving better outcomes for people needing care and support who had experienced abuse or neglect. Some local areas had not made such progress however, and there had been less interest in MSP from partner agencies such as the police and NHS.