Statutory powers and duties
Inquiries and investigations
Councils have a statutory duty to make inquiries about a person's wellbeing, property or financial affairs if they know or believe that the person is an adult at risk and that they might need to intervene to take protective action.
- Council officers have the power to carry out investigations through visits and interviews and through examination of financial or other records.
- Council officers can require health records to be produced in respect of an adult at risk, but these records can only be examined by a health professional such as a doctor or nurse.
- Health professionals have the power to carry out medical examinations as part of investigations.
- Adults have the right not to answer any questions and to refuse to be medically examined and must be told of these rights before an interview or medical examination.
- Councils have a duty to consider the importance of the provision of appropriate services to the adult, including independent advocacy.
Duty to co-operate
The act sets out statutory duties of co-operation for certain public bodies and their office-holders:
- all councils
- the relevant health board
- Police Scotland
- Care Inspectorate
- Healthcare Improvement Scotland
- Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
- the Public Guardian
- any other public body or office holder specified by the Scottish Ministers
These public bodies and office holders must:
- co-operate with a council and each other in making inquiries under the act
- report the facts and circumstances to the local council when they know or believe that someone is an adult at risk of harm and that action is needed to protect that adult from harm
The information was last updated on: 28th August 2020