Safeguarding at Sense: for professionals

Raise a safeguarding issue

Tell Sense if you are concerned about yourself or somebody else in one of our services.

This page gives an overview of Sense’s policies and procedures relating to safeguarding for professionals, such as social workers and commissioners.

It covers risk enablement, making safeguarding personal, what to do when things go wrong, reporting abuse, and guidance for Sense staff and volunteers.

It also includes links to additional resources for professionals working with children, young people and adults at risk of abuse or neglect.

Sense’s commitment to safeguarding

At Sense, we believe every person has the right to live a life free from abuse and neglect, and take a zero tolerance approach to abuse and neglect.

We work with individuals, families and carers, as well as healthcare professionals and agencies, to safeguard the children, young people and adults we support.

We have policies, procedures and training to keep people safe from abuse or neglect.

Sense has a Safeguarding Board to monitor safeguarding concerns throughout the organisation and to ensure that we always take appropriate action to keep people safe.

We always take action to follow up a concern about a person’s safety and well-being and where there is an allegation of abuse.

Our full operational policies are in the resources section below.

Making safeguarding personal

For adults with complex disabilities or learning difficulties, safeguarding is also about being independent and making their own choices.

This idea can be summed up as: no decision about me, without me.

Our goal is to support individuals to grow in confidence and skills, to make their own choices and to live as fully as possible.

This includes supporting people to try new things and may include enabling them to take informed risks.

The guiding principles of risk enablement

At Sense, we follow these principles:

  • Involve the adult.
  • Involve the network around the adult.
  • Engage in multi-agency best practice.
  • Assess risk.
  • Identify risk management processes.
  • Consider risk to others.
  • Consider the mental capacity of the person.
  • Provide advocacy if needed to support the person.
  • Complex situations are resolved.
  • Share information with those who need it.
  • Defensible decision-making.

Supporting people to take informed risks

We aim to manage risk rather than avoid it.

This includes considering the benefits of someone taking a risk, as well as what might happen if things go wrong.

We work closely with people, putting them at the centre of decision-making for their safety and wellbeing.

We find out find out what is important to them, how they want to be supported and what they would like to do in the future.

We also look at what is working and what isn’t in their lives.

We use a person-centred review process to make sure we consider these factors on a regular basis, so that people have:

  • Plans in place to ensure that they experience emotional and physical wellbeing.
  • Enough support to be independent, safe and engaged in all that they do.
  • The information and support to exercise choice and control in their lives, including with regard to the support that we provide.
  • Access to their local and wider community so that they can be included and contribute.
  • Opportunities to be themselves, and to establish and maintain important relationships and friendships.

Opportunities to be creative, learn new skills, engage in activities they enjoy and contribute in a meaningful way – so that they can experience a sense of achievement, fulfilment, pleasure and purpose.

What to do when things go wrong

Sometimes things go wrong or don’t work out as expected.

This could range from someone having an accident when trying to ride a bike for the first time to suspected abuse.

In either case, it is important to explore with the person what they would like to happen.

They should take an active part in the process and not just be expected to accept the final outcome passively.

In any case of suspected or alleged abuse, or other serious incident, Sense’s adult protection procedures must be followed and managed correctly.

The manager/investigating officer must listen to the person and find out from them what they want to happen.

Where this is not possible, because of difficulties with communication, observing the person, and knowing them well, may help you to discover what the person wants to happen.

Where there is an allegation of abuse, we always take action to follow up a concern about a person’s safety and wellbeing.

You can find out more about making safeguarding personal, supporting risk enablement and managing reports of abuse by reading Making Safeguarding Personal.

Further information and support

Ann Craft Trust
A national charity that exists to minimise the risk of abuse of disabled children and adults at risk, offering training, research, resources, reviews and audits.

Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board
Information for professionals, including guidance and toolkits for download.

GOV.UK: Safeguarding disabled children
Departmental advice setting out how agencies and professionals should work together to safeguard the welfare of disabled children.

GOV.UK: Safeguarding Adults: The role of health services
Documents reminding health services of their duties to safeguard adults.

GOV.UK: Safeguarding women and girls at risk of FGM
Practical help to support NHS organisations developing new safeguarding policies and procedures for female genital mutilation (FGM).

NHS England
Download the PDF guidebook to safeguarding adults.

UK Safer Internet Centre
Supporting professionals working with children and young people

You can also find more safeguarding resources for people with complex disabilities and learning disabilities, family members, friends and carers in our guide to safeguarding and keeping safe.

Download our resources

Make a complaint

If you wish to raise concerns about a person at Sense, we will take your complaint seriously.