wilful neglect

How to recognise and report signs of wilful neglect or ill-treatment

Care inspectorate and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) have published new guidance to support workers and providers to recognise potential signs of ill-treatment or wilful neglect, when an offence may have occurred, and how and who they should report it to. 

The guidance provides examples of wilful neglect or ill-treatment as:

  • not providing food to an adult who requires their meals to be prepared and brought to them
  • not washing an adult who requires assistance with washing themselves regularly
  • being verbally abusive towards an adult who receives health and/or social care
  • physical violence toward an adult who receives health and/or social care
  • a care service provider failing to act where they are aware of practices which result in the serious neglect of adults using their care service
  • care service providers consistently failing to ensure the health and safety of people who use their service resulting in serious risk to their life, health or wellbeing, despite concerns being raised by staff or external agencies.

It is important to remain alert to possible signs of ill-treatment or wilful neglect, despite not directly observing concerning behaviours/actions.

The guidance states that if a worker notices wilful neglect or ill-treatment, they have an obligation to report it under the SSSC Codes of Practice. If you are told not to raise or follow up a concern, even by someone more senior than you, you should not stay silent. All registered workers have a duty to be open and honest.

More information on how to report wilful neglect or ill-treatment for both workers and care service providers can be found here.

As well as this guidance, Care Inspectorate and Scottish Care are working with The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) on a project called ‘People at the Centre’. Adults who live in care homes are being invited to talk about their recent experiences of health and social care and wellbeing, and also to offer suggestions about the future.

Feedback will be used anonymously to form part of a report for the Scottish Government to inform decisions about any changes to health and social care support.

Anyone who is interested can arrange a phone call by emailing get.involved@careinspectorate.gov.scot or by phoning 01382 207142.

These conversations will be through the Care Inspectorate’s volunteer inspection team who have skills and experience in undertaking such conversations. These conversations are not linked to inspection processes.

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