The Department of Health has published guidance which aims to ensure that NHS clinical governance systems and adult safeguarding processes are fully integrated. Clinical governance and adult safeguarding: an integrated process can be accessed here.

The guidance follows the Department of Health’s consultation on reviewing No secrets which is the guidance that governs adult protection processes. The guidance encourages organisations to develop robust local arrangements to ensure that adult safeguarding issues are appropriately addressed and provides a flow chart setting out how adult safeguarding and clinical governance processes should be integrated. It is hoped that an integrated approach will avoid duplication of investigations and permit greater learning from adverse events.

The flow chart indicates the stages at which NHS organisations should consider whether incidents raise adult safeguarding issues and, if so, how these issues should be dealt with. The guidance also provides some useful practical examples to help explain the integrated process for managing adult safeguarding and clinical governance concerns.

The guidance refers to there being a perception that adult safeguarding issues within the NHS are largely dealt with “in-house” rather than through the multi-agency process advocated by the No secrets guidance. The integrated process advocated should help NHS bodies to correctly determine when a multi-agency safeguarding investigation is appropriate.