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Adult support and protection (ASP)

North Ayrshire's Health and Social Care Partnership Multi-Agency Adult Support and Protection Policy

Adults at risk of harm

Illness, or disability, can make an individual reliant upon others for help and support. In some cases, reliance can increase vulnerability to abuse and exploitation when trust is abused. People over the age of 16, who fall into this group, are sometimes referred to as 'adults at risk of harm'. They could be someone who, through mental or physical disability:

  • is unable to live unsupported alone
  • cannot deal with their own financial affairs
  • has suffered or is suffering physical or emotional abuse
  • has been or is being financially exploited
  • poses a danger to themselves or others

What is meant by harm?

Harm can take many forms including;

  • physical violence
  • psychological intimidation
  • neglect
  • financial exploitation
  • sexual abuse.

It can happen anywhere.

Report any concerns by phone to:

  • 01294 310300 during working hours 
  • 0800 328 7758 out of hours

If the person is in immediate danger or in an emergency situation, call Police Scotland on 999. For non-emergency situations call 101.

You do not need to leave your name, but it would help for more information.

If you work for an organisation and are worried about a client, please complete our:

Adult Protection Referral form

A person under the age of 16

Do as above. Separate child protection procedures will apply.

What happens next?

A specially trained Social Worker, known as a Council Officer will investigate. They will work alongside other agencies to ensure the safety of the adult. This may involve:

  • advocacy services - if the adult is unable or lacks the confidence to speak for themselves
  • additional support - Care at Home, day services, respite care or Telecare
  • guardianship order, or power of attorney, if the vulnerable adult is at risk of financial exploitation.

North Ayrshire Adult Protection Committee

The North Ayrshire Adult Protection Committee brings together practitioners from social care, voluntary organisations, the police and the NHS. The committee provides specialist training on adult protection to staff in its partner agencies.

Missing persons

A missing person is defined in the National Missing Person’s Framework as anyone whose whereabouts are unknown and where circumstances are out of character; or the context suggests the person may be subject to crime; or the person is at risk of harm to themselves or another.'

North Ayrshire Council and the North Ayrshire Adult Protection Committee are committed to the four objectives as outlined in the framework to:

  • introduce preventative measures to reduce the number of missing person episodes
  • respond consistently and appropriately to missing person episodes
  • provide the best possible support to both missing people and their families
  • protect vulnerable missing people and reduce the risk of harm

If you suspect an adult is missing and there is no immediate danger, please contact Police Scotland on 101. If you fear they are in immediate danger, please contact Police Scotland on their emergency number 999.

The Herbert Protocol

The Herbert Protocol initiative is named after George Herbert, a veteran of the Normandy landings, who had dementia, and sadly died while he was 'missing' on his way to his childhood home. It is an early intervention and risk reduction scheme to help find vulnerable people who are at risk of going missing.

Since 2017 the Herbert Protocol has been used many times to help police and other agencies quickly and safely locate missing people who have dementia.

Families of a person with the condition are asked to download the Herbert Protocol form and provide information such as places of importance to them, often visited places, health issues and places they have been found in the past if reported missing. Ownership and responsibility for updating the form remains with the family. It is good practice to complete this form as soon as possible, following a diagnosis, so it is ready to share with the Police, should they missing. It is advised this form is reviewed and updated regularly.

More information on the Herbert Protocol and the Herbert Protocol form can be found on Police Scotland's Herbert Protocol page.

Joint Thematic Inspection of ASP Report

North Ayrshire was one of 6 participating Authorities in the Joint Thematic Inspection of ASP.

View the Care Inspectorate report on the inspection.

Training opportunities

There is information available on ASP training. It is open to individuals and partner organisations:

For ASP training enquiries, email the Adult Support and Protection Training Team.

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