What do these terms mean?
Consent means: ‘permission for something to happen or agreement to do something’ Risk management means: ‘forecasting and evaluation of risks together with the identification of procedures to avoid or minimize the impact’
Safeguarding means: ‘to protect from harm or damage with an appropriate measure’
So, what binds these three and what is the relationship between them?
The 6 safeguarding principles bind these three: these are:
1) Empowerment: adults to be encouraged to make their own decisions as a result of having been given all information and support and for options and possible consequences of making a decision made clear. Empowerment helps individuals to build confidence and resilience
2) Prevention: a strategy must be agreed and put into place to minimise potential harm or abuse
3) Proportionate: agreements must be made to balance safety with responses which do not overtake or attempt to control or intrude on the decision made by the individual; their needs and wishes should remain central and paramount to the decision that has been made
4) Protection: the fourth principle encourages adults to find ways to protect themselves and includes them in conversations about how this can be upheld
5) Partnerships: working in partnership with agencies to be able to find solutions to bring about the most positive outcomes
6) Accountable: ensuring that all partners act responsibly and remain accountable for decisions made and actions taken
So, to now be able to answer the question let’s consider how these relate to consent, risk management and safeguarding:
Consent: principles 1, 3, 4 relate to consent. All vulnerable adults should be given the freedom and autonomy to be able to make their own decisions and have their own choices. This retains their sense of confidence, individuality and identity, and offers them empowerment.
Proportionate: however, although vulnerable adults must be given empowerment any decision or choice must also be balanced with an agreement maintain safety
Protection: working alongside the principle of empowerment there must be an emphasis made on encouraging vulnerable adults to consider ways to be able to protect themselves.
Risk management: principles 2, 3 relate to risk management: again, a preventative strategy must be put into place which balances risk with safety as risk of injury or harm must be avoided wherever possible; However, a balance must be found between potentially placing a vulnerable adult at risk of injury or harm and ensuring that their individuality and human rights are upheld. Therefore, the result of any risk assessment must be proportionate.
Safeguarding: principles 4, 5, 6 relate to safeguarding: a safeguarding process must ensure that a vulnerable adult is protected from injury or harm; this can involve supporting an individual to find ways to protect themselves and make informed decisions or protection can be achieved when others make best interest decisions. When others become involved in the best interest process this involves working in partnership; the partnership should include the vulnerable adult and those working within both internal and external teams to be able to bring about the most positive outcomes. These teams remain accountable for ensuring that all partners act responsibly and remain accountable for decisions made and actions taken.