1. Definition and legal requirements

An adult in law is any person who has reached their 18th birthday.

Adults with vulnerabilities need to be protected. The law defines adult protection in a very different way to child safeguarding by showing the services and activities which adults with vulnerabilities may receive - and the protection required during the times when they are receiving those service or undergoing those activities. When they are not receiving those services or doing those activities they are technically no longer vulnerable in law.

Rochdale staff are therefore to study and understand this policy and the separate Procedures document and make adjustments to their previous learning. There is now no such thing as a vulnerable adult in law. You may think that an elderly adult or infirm or homeless adult is vulnerable but that has nothing to do with the law. If a crime has been committed against them then the police must be informed. Such acts against adults do not come under safeguarding law any more.

The definition of Regulated Activity for adults defines the activities provided to any adult as those which, if any adult requires them, will mean that the adult will be considered vulnerable at that particular time. 

These activities are (only): 
  • The provision of healthcare, personal care, and/or social work; 
  • Assistance with general household matters and/or in the conduct of the adult’s own affairs; 
  • And/or an adult who is conveyed to, from, or between places, where they receive healthcare, relevant personal care or social work because of their age, illness or disability. 
The national policy is directed by the Department of Health (DoH) and their policy document details in full detail all the aspects which need protection. 

However, it is unlikely that staff members will come across regulated activities for adults as our training role does not cover those aspects – so care for adults at Rochdale Training needs to be based on normal levels of respect and politeness and courtesy. 

Rochdale Training staff are therefore to act with commonsense and care to ensure that all adults are protected from harm.

The key laws and statutory guidance documents are:
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • DoH adult safeguarding policy
The law requires that professionals and organisations protecting adults need to reflect on the quality of their services and learn from their own practice and that of others. Good practice should be shared so that there is a growing understanding of what works well. Conversely, when things go wrong there needs to be a rigorous, objective analysis of what happened and why, so that important lessons can be learnt and services improved to reduce the risk of future harm to adults. Always refer to your safeguarding officers when in doubt.


Safeguarding Adults is a term which is broader than ‘adult protection’ and relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of adults and protect them from harm. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. 

Harm to an adult in the context of the DoH definition is explained here:

Any person has committed an offence in law if they have:

Harmed an adult through their actions or inaction (relevant conduct). This means a person has done something which may lead to harm or has failed to take action to prevent harm.
If you are aware you must act. You cannot tell an adult that everything will be kept quiet to protect them or person connected to them otherwise the harm or risk of harm may continue.

Harm should be considered in a wider context than just physical and can take numerous forms. 

Types of harm relating to adults (occurring ONLY during those special activities and services listed above) can include (but are not limited to): 
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse 
  • Psychological abuse
  • Domestic abuse
  • Discriminatory abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Neglect
Staff working with adults with vulnerabilities must always act in their best interests and ensure they take all reasonable steps to prevent harm to them. Having safeguards in place within an organisation not only protects and promotes the welfare of adults but also it enhances the confidence of staff, volunteers, parents/carers and the general public.

These safeguards should include procedures for dealing with issues of concern or abuse and a safeguarding team headed by a senior safeguarding officer who liaises with the Local Adult Safeguarding Board for Rochdale and the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) for Greater Manchester.

Abuse outside regulated activity

Striving to Protect Adults

Irrespective of the above constraints on regulated activity, adults shall not receive or come to harm or be placed at risk of harm by any act of neglect, failure to act, inadequate staff training or management or for another reason within our control.

This policy is a statement of intent that demonstrates a commitment to safeguard adults involved in vocational learning or coming into contact with Rochdale Training in any other capacity, from harm.

To understand the detailed procedures and other aspects behind this policy please refer to the separate document:

Rochdale Training – Adult Safeguarding Procedure