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Are you worried about an adult? Please call 0344 800 8020

Report a concern

Raising a concern

Under the Care Act 2014, the local authority takes the lead role in receiving and managing enquiries about adults with care and support needs (or appearance of these needs) who may be experiencing or at risk of harm or abuse.

In Norfolk this is Norfolk County Council (NCC) Adult Social Services, which is separate to Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board (a strategic partnership) and safeguarding concerns which need enquiry should not be shared with NSAB but directed to NCC.

Safeguarding adult duties apply where an adult living in the local area:

  • has needs for care and support (or appears to have those needs)
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • and is unable to protect themselves from that abuse or neglect because of their care and support needs

Care and support is the mixture of practical, financial and emotional support for adults who need extra help to manage their lives and be independent - including older people, people with a disability or long-term illness, people with mental health problems, and carers.

Care and support includes assessment of people's needs, provision of services and the allocation of funds to enable a person to purchase their own care and support. It could include care home, home care, personal assistants, day services, or the provision of aids and adaptations.

Being concerned about someone's general safety or well-being is not always the same as them being subject to abuse - have a look at our guidance on safeguarding with a big 'S' to understand better where those safeguarding adult duties do and don't apply as part of s42 of the Care Act 2014.

For example - You may work with or speak to adults who self-harm or express suicidal thoughts - this will rarely be considered a Safeguarding concern, unless the reason for those thoughts and actions is as a result of adult abuse, in which case an enquiry may be needed to address the cause, but that would not address the consequence.

111 should always be presented as a helpful and immediate health intervention and while it’s important to listen to people, ensuring clear direction to services that can help is essential (including the person's GP). 111 as the initial triage service can link people either to immediate i.e. 999 care or arrange an appointment within A & E (psychiatric liaison team/place of safety) or other options. 

There is information, support and guidance available on where to turn to if you feel you need help - whether as an individual, as someone working with others, or as friends or families of someone who may be suicidal.

Norfolk County Council - includes a link to the 'Stay Alive' app.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's website: Suicide prevention and awareness (NSFT)

As part of the National Suicide Prevention Programme, Norfolk County Council have contracted Norfolk and Waveney Mind to expand the provision of suicide prevention training across Norfolk and Waveney. There are free courses currently available, you can find out more and sign up here: Norfolk and Waveney Mind - Suicide Prevention & Awareness

Where safeguarding adult duties do not apply, and so a safeguarding enquiry under s42 Care Act does not happen, Adult Social Services may still be able to support the person in the usual ways (through a Care Act needs assessment) or signpost to other options where appropriate.

You can raise a safeguarding adults concern to Adult Social Services:

By telephone: 0344 800 8020 – this connects you to NCC customer service centre and they will help you to find the right route for your concern.

Or online: Report a concern - Safeguarding - Norfolk County Council

The local authority will come back to you as soon as possible - bear in mind responses will depend on the information you provide and the level of risk you have identified; there may be other reasons for delay.

Consent in safeguarding enquiries

Community Care published an article (January 2024) with a useful overview on the issue of consent in safeguarding adults, you can read it here:

Safeguarding adults enquiries: do you need consent?

Flow diagram - end to end in safeguarding adults

To understand what happens next, NSAB have produced a graphic to explain the safeguarding adults process to show how your concern may be taken forward (updated January 2023)

What happens when I raise a safeguarding concern?

We also have this on one of our webpages. 


To make sure you have as much information as possible ready for the call, use this checklist to see if there is anything else you need to know:

Raising a concern checklist

FAQs about raising a safeguarding concern

If you need to escalate a concern within an organisation

In an emergency, if the person is at immediate risk or in danger, ring 999


One of the most common queries we hear as a Board is about receiving feedback / knowing what has happened after people have raised a concern. Some key things to be aware of:

  • Every contact via telephone or portal is logged.
  • The local authority will tell you what they will do next, although this may be as simple as they need to initially 'gather more information'. Make sure you give them your contact number and details correctly - for example, if you work for a large organisation, and share a work number, could adult social care speak to a colleague instead to give feedback.  
  • If the concern you raised progresses to a safeguarding adults enquiry under s42 Care Act, the process the local authority follows does prompt that you will get feedback at the end of the process.
  • Depending on your relationship / involvement with the adult at risk, it may not be possible to give any further information other than to assure you that the local authority has taken your concerns forward. For example, if you are a member of the public raising concerns, the local authority won’t be able to share personal details about the adult you are concerned about. It may not be possible to share the specifics of the situation, or the person's wishes.
  • If you have a professional involvement with the person, more information may be shared with you. You may be involved in the enquiry, or you may not. Someone reporting a concern is known as a third party.
  • It may be that more than one person reported a concern about the same adult - because only one of those contacts will generate the safeguarding enquiry, only that person will be logged as the 'referrer' who will be prompted to receive feedback. You can check this with the local authority. 
  • If you work in a busy organisation such as a hospital, it’s possible that feedback may have been given to one of your colleagues. Make sure everyone understands that the need to write down feedback in the person’s record so everyone who works with the person can access it.
  • Raising a concern does not override the usual rights of the adult under data protection / GDPR legislation - so it is likely that the feedback you get may be limited - for example, to tell you an enquiry is progressing but not the detail. Every case will be unique to the adult and the situation they are experiencing. 
  • Sometimes enquiries can be lengthy - however you can contact adult social care for an update at any point. Again, the details you get may be limited.
  • If your concern does not progress to an enquiry, you should be told that clearly and given some explanation of why (in line with the relevant data protection requirements) and there will be no further feedback to be given in relation the safeguarding concern. If a care needs assessment is carried out instead, then that will be directly with the adult, and again potentially confidential to that adult.
  • If you have not received feedback and you want to check about the progress of the enquiry, you can contact adult social care for information on 0344 800 8020.

See also our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about raising safeguarding adult concerns

The Associate of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has also published detailed guidance on:

Understanding what constitutes a safeguarding concern

Quick Guide to Understanding what constitutes a safeguarding concern

Making decisions on the duty to carry out safeguarding adults enquiries

Safeguarding adults: roles and responsibilities in health and care services

Partners in Care and Health (PCH) - which include the Local Government Association (LGA) and ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) have joined up with NHS England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the National Police Chiefs Council, to launch a guide to your roles and responsibilities in safeguarding adults.

The guide focuses on the roles and responsibilities of agencies involved in health and social care, including providers, commissioners, clinicians, social workers and managers, police and regulators.

You can find this here: 

Safeguarding adults: roles and responsibilities in health and care services

Responsibility for our own well-being as well as those we are supporting

Are you worried about the impact on you / staff / volunteers? Please do take time to seek out support if you need it – from your colleagues, managers, your own organisation’s well-being provision, or support lines / groups.

You can also use the links below:

Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen or ring 116 123

Help in a crisis | Norfolk and Suffolk NHS (

If you're not sure what you can share, have a look at our:

Quick Guide - 7 Golden Rules about information sharing 

or more detailed NSAB guidance in -  Information sharing in safeguarding adults

Children's Advice and Duty Service (CADS) Norfolk County Council

Norfolk Children's Advice and Duty Service is made up of a team of consultant social workers who have had specialist training to coach and empower partners to be more confident in working with families and meeting needs.  They can provide support, advice and signposting to identify the correct services and support for the child or young person. 

You can find out more about CADS and how to contact them here