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Self-neglect and Hoarding

NSAB Multi agency Self-neglect and hoarding strategy

This strategy is designed to support best practice in working together when supporting someone who may be self-neglecting and / or hoarding. It describes how agencies and practitioners should be working together to offer support and find solutions to identified needs.

 All partners are encouraged to download the strategy and cascade within their organisations. More information is available further down this page too.

Please do give us feedback on the strategy and practitioner guide, so that we can make sure it is as useful as possible to you all.

 Download the strategy



NSAB Self-neglect and hoarding practitioner guide

This guide is published alongside the multi-agency strategy, and is intended as a toolkit to support practitioners from a range of agencies with management of cases where an adult is deemed to be at risk due to self-neglecting and/or hoarding behaviours.  

The practitioner guide includes:

  • The Clutter Image Rating Scale (CIRT)
  • Assessment Tool Guidelines
  • Guidance for practitioners
  • Guidance questions which could be used during an assessment
  • Hoarding self-assessment tool

 Practitioner Guide

Self-neglect, hoarding and safeguarding adults

Self-neglect covers a wide range of behaviour which in general means someone is not caring for their own personal hygiene, health, safety or surroundings. It can also include hoarding behaviour, although not always. Hoarding can involve specific things, very general items, or animals – even data can be hoarded!

The reasons for self-neglect are often complicated, although sometimes there may be a simpler reason for a change in circumstance. Someone who develops dementia, for example, may forget how to do certain household tasks, or someone with a new disability may not be able to maintain their personal hygiene in the same way as they had before.

Self-neglect will not often be taken forward as a s42 (safeguarding adults) enquiry - however supporting someone who self-neglects or hoards will usually need agencies to work together closely, in line with safeguarding adult processes. Professionals meetings should be used to help that joint working, especially where a number of risks have been identified.

Chronic self-neglect and/or hoarding is likely to have developed over many years, and it may be considered a safeguarding concern at the point:

  • where the person with care and support needs can no longer control their behaviour, so they cannot protect themselves;
  • where there is a defined high risk of harm to the individual;
  • or the physical / environmental risk to others is significant.

 “Safeguarding duties will apply where the adult has care and support needs (many people who self-neglect do not), and they are at risk of self-neglect and they are unable to protect themselves because of their care and support needs. In most cases, the intervention should seek to minimise the risk while respecting the individual’s choices. It is rare that a total transformation will take place and positive change should be seen as a long-term, incremental process.” Self-neglect: At a glance | SCIE

Organisations involved must look at any concerns raised to them under their existing duties and responsibilities under the law, and work together with the person to understand the underlying cause of the self-neglect or hoarding issues.

It often needs longer term involvement to build relationships, identify and work on any past trauma; and the workers involved need to come together to support the person to understand and manage any specific risks where possible.

Workers need to understand that people have the right to choose their lifestyle, balanced with their mental health or their capacity to understand the consequences of their actions.

It can often be a care or risk management issue rather than a safeguarding concern and may require a social care assessment - although it should be recognised that it will not always be appropriate to refer to the local authority straightaway. There may be initial support that other agencies can provide, especially where it appears unlikely that the person has care and support needs.

Lambeth Safeguarding Adults Board created this 3 minute video about self-neglect:

NSAB have developed and published Norfolk’s Self-Neglect and Hoarding Strategy (see above), which has more detailed guidance on how to work with and support individuals in this category - Safeguarding Adults Reviews frequently highlight self-neglect signs and symptoms as a factor in or indicators of subsequent serious events that have resulted in life threatening consequences, or even death.

When seen in isolation, self-neglect and/or hoarding behaviours may not give rise to safeguarding intervention. However, when viewed alongside other potential risks, a very different picture often emerges.

To address and coordinate this important area of work across partner agencies, NSAB produced and published this strategy, which aims to be part of the growing work around early intervention and preventative agendas.

It directs collaborative multi-agency discussions of self-neglect and/or hoarding cases to the Early Help Hubs (EHH). To encourage a more preventative approach to cases of self-neglect and/or hoarding, the trigger point for taking a case to the EHHs is level 2 (image 4 upwards) on the Clutter Image Rating Scale (CIRT). The strategy sets out clearly that a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach to those at risk is the most effective way to achieve creative and proportionate interventions that respect the individual’s right to self-determination. The strategy includes the Self-neglect and Hoarding Assessment Triangle which might be helpful to practitioners.

NSAB Self-neglect and hoarding strategy

In 2020, ADASS (Association of Directors of  Adult Social Services) and the East of England SGAN (safeguarding adults network) published a learning support document. Recognising that working with adults at risk of self-neglect and/or hoarding is complex, they wanted to produce a document that supports frontline practitioners and reinforces good practice.

While this document is aimed primarily at adult social services social work practitioners and managers employed in statutory roles, its content is relevant to all professionals who may work with adults who self-neglect and/ or hoard.

Case studies are used as examples of how to work effectively with people who self-neglect and/or hoard and key points of good practice are included. These have been taken from research studies and particularly from the work of Michael Preston-Shoot, Suzy Braye and David Orr. 

ADASS self neglect learning support


Clutter Image Ratings - link to Hoarding Disorders UK

Early Help / Collaboration Hubs in Norfolk

 Did you know that the local Early Help Hubs throughout Norfolk are now facilitating virtual collaboration meetings?

These are multi agency support meetings which professionals can attend to obtain peer support and guidance.

See the details below to find out more about the collaboration meetings near you.


  • Day(s) and time of the collaboration meeting: Wednesdays 9.30am.
  • All compliant partners will be invited to attend the meetings and given access to the password protected case tracker.
  • How to refer a case to the collaboration: complete referral information, including consent agreement.
  • Who to contact to join a meeting: email referral to the designated mailbox/submit referral online by close of play Friday.
  • Please contact Sophie Soto if you are interested in attending in the future at
  • What digital platform do the meetings use: meetings are currently being held via Microsoft Teams.

South Norfolk & Broadland:

  • Day(s) and time of the collaboration meeting: Thursdays at 11am.
  • Who to contact to join a meeting: please contact Amanda Smith at
  • What digital platform do the meetings use: meetings are currently being held via Microsoft Teams. 

East Norfolk:

  • Day(s) and time of the collaboration meeting: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am
  • Who to contact to join a meeting: please contact Steve Scott-Greenard at 
  • What digital platform do the meetings use: meetings take place on Microsoft Teams

North Norfolk

  • Day(s) and time of the collaboration meeting: collaboration meetings normally every Wednesday starting at 9.30am
  • Collaboration meetings are held remotely via Teams every Wednesday apart from the last Wednesday of the month where a face to face Collaboration meeting is held at North Norfolk District Council offices in Cromer.
  • Who to contact to join a meeting: please contact Kerri Bateson – Early Help & Prevention Team Leader - 01263 516194 or
  • What digital platform do the meetings use: currently meeting remotely via Teams apart from the last Wednesday of every month as above. Please contact Kerri for more information.


  • Day(s) and time of the collaboration meeting: Thursday at 9.30am
  • Who to contact to join a meeting: Gina Warren (business support officer)
  • Call 01603 987800 Hub or email
  • What digital platform do the meetings use: Microsoft Teams

West Norfolk:

  • Day(s) and time of the collaboration meeting: Tuesdays at 10am
  • Who to contact to join a meeting: Lisa Skinner 
  • To join the meeting please email
  • What digital platform do the meetings use: Microsoft Teams


Nov 22 Self-neglect & hoarding sessions

To link in with Safeguarding Adults week 2022, NSAB's self-neglect & hoarding subgroup put on three 'bite-size' sessions looking at different aspects of the issue with a focus on practical approaches, particularly in the light of the current cost of living and system pressures.

This was event #3, following on from 2 previous events we have held for our multi-agency partners over the last 12 months.

In one, we watched Keith's story, a film by Birmingham SAB which gives a very personal perspective and looks at how the right support alongside multi-agency working made a real difference. The question discussed in the breakout rooms was 'how would we start conversations with people in a similar position to Keith?'.

We also heard from Kevin, a tenancy support and safeguarding manager for Broadland Housing Association, giving a perspective on landlords and maintaining tenancies - the question discussed in these groups was how do we communicate effectively with tenants, helping them to understand and maintain tenancies?

Finally, we had Kristie from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service looking at the potential fire risks as people change their usual routines / methods of heating, also offering a wide range of safety tips for the groups to consider.

The sessions were really well attended, with over 100 people in one of them, and some excellent comments and points shared following the group work.

As a result, we have created 3 new 7-minute briefings to cover both the presentation content and the feedback, and you can find them here NSAB 7-minute briefings.

Now to start planning for event #4 to continue this popular series!