Investigating alleged abuse or neglect

Where there has been an investigation of alleged abuse or concerns about neglect of a vulnerable adult, a case conference is usually arranged with all the agencies involved to fully discuss all relevant information.

It determines whether abuse has occurred and, if necessary, seeks to prevent further abuse by developing a protection plan. This recommends how the abused person and/or others who may be at risk can be protected, including considerations of criminal or civil proceedings.

Who attends a case conference?

It is chaired by a senior social work manager or a member of the Safeguarding Support Team. The social worker who investigated the alleged abuse will produce a written report and attend the conference, as will representatives from all other appropriate agencies. This could be a police officer, representative from a residential or nursing care home, representatives from health (such as a district nurse), representative from a home care agency, and so on.

Wherever possible the person who might have been abused and/or appropriate family members will also be invited.

What happens at a case conference?

Everyone will introduce themselves before explaining the specific reasons why the conference has been arranged and what people will need to consider. The social worker will normally discuss his or her report and the chairperson will ask everyone present to comment on their involvement in a logical sequence.

People will be able to ask questions through the chairperson, who will ensure that everyone present has an opportunity to speak before there is a general discussion.

It is sometimes necessary to ask people to leave the conference whilst confidential information is discussed (such as details of criminal convictions, or due to hostility or conflict between parties).

How decisions are made

Agencies that have been investigated as potentially being responsible for abuse and others that have no authority to be part of the decision making process will be asked to leave before the conference discusses any conclusions, decisions and/or recommendations.

Any individual dissention to decisions will be recorded in the minutes.

In all circumstances, people who attend the conference will be provided with a copy of the minutes that are always taken. Any further action taken will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the decisions that are made at the conference.


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