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: