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CALL TO INTRODUCE VULNERABLE ADULT PROTECTION LAWS IN SCOTLAND

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With the introduction of POVA (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) legislation* in England & Wales this week Glasgow C...
With the introduction of POVA (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) legislation* in England & Wales this week Glasgow City Council has called for equivalent legislation to be introduced in Scotland sooner rather than later.

John McKenzie, convener of social care services committee at Glasgow City Council, is concerned that while the current legal framework north of the border provides specific protection for certain groups, more general safeguards are still needed to cover the wider client group.

He said: 'The Adults With Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, and the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984 set out clear guidelines for practitioners dealing with both vulnerable groups. However, there are other adults whose needs fall outside of these very specific client groups who do not have the peace of mind they deserve, and that is a worry. With this type of issue, where the safety of vulnerable and elderly people is at stake, a belt and braces approach is entirely justified.

'Following the Borders social work inquiry earlier this year the subsequent reportmade it clear that this type of legislation was long overdue in Scotland. The Executive has already consulted widely and I know the minister, who has been very supportive of legislation, is considering the responses.'

Glasgow Social Work Services purchases around 4,000 care home places across the city and many of the clients have neither mental health issues nor incapacity. In addition, the council and the NHS jointly provide services for approximately 3000 adults with a learning disability. Most of these people are vulnerable to some degree but are not covered at present by umbrella legislation of the type introduced in England and Wales.

Mr McKenzie added: 'Local authorities are at the sharp end of care. Our staff provide the day-to-day services that help to sustain a reasonable quality of life for millions of people in the UK with specialist needs. The Executive was right to consult, and it is proper to consider the responses carefully. However, I urge the Executive to afford this matter the urgency it deserves so that we can enhance protection of vulnerable adults in Scotland as soon as possible.'

* Details of the POVA legislation here.

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