Councillors' briefing: safeguarding adults

All councillors share a responsibility in relation to safeguarding those adults whose circumstances make them vulnerable.


‘Best practice guidance on the role of the Director of Adult Social Services' (Department of Health 2006), makes reference to the role of the lead member and notes that "local authorities are advised to ensure that the lead member has a focus on safeguarding vulnerable adults and promoting a high standard of services for adults with support needs across all agencies."

As well as the key role of the lead member for adult social care, other specific roles are critical to ensuring vulnerable adults are safeguarded.

These roles include:

  • scrutiny members
  • children's services lead members – both for their key role in relation to children, but also because in some households, for example, the behaviour of one adult may be abusive to children and another vulnerable adult
  • members in Crime and Disorder Partnerships and hate crime and domestic abuse/violence partnerships or sub-committees
  • members involved in community cohesion work councillors who are members or non-executives of NHS Trusts or police authorities
  • other cabinet members and frontline councillors.

The following document outlines the role of councillors in safeguarding adults: