In line with the Scottish Government led improvement plan, further scrutiny and assurance of adult support and protection is being undertaken across Scotland. This builds on the first joint inspection of adult support and protection, involving six adult protection partnerships, undertaken in 2017/18 and published July 2018. The initial inspection identified some good progress by partnerships and but also variations in how partnerships give effect to the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007. The report from this inspection can be found here. The Scottish Government has requested further scrutiny across the remaining 26 partnership areas.

Scrutiny approach

A phased approach to scrutiny and assurance of adult support and protection has been developed. This is a five-year programme of activity currently planned over two phases, to be completed by 2024. Phase 1 of the programme is a two-year inspection programme, developed to provide baseline information across the 26 adult protection partnerships not previously inspected. This will be followed by second phase of scrutiny and/or improvement activity which will be informed by phase 1. The joint inspection approach based on the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) excellence model will be carried out under Section 115, Public Services Reform (Scotland), Act 2010. Scrutiny of the 26 partnership areas will be completed over a 24-month period. Each inspection footprint will last 18 weeks. Two multi-agency inspection teams will work concurrently to achieve this.

Scrutiny partners

The inspection programme will be led by Care Inspectorate in collaboration with His Majesties’ Inspectorate of Constabulary Scotland (HMICS) and Healthcare improvement Scotland (HIS).  Each scrutiny agency has identified dedicated staff with appropriate levels of experience and expertise in adult support and protection. This scrutiny and assurance will be undertaken in the context of health and social care integration.

Phase 1 inspection focus and activity

These inspections will focus on key processes and leadership (see our quality indicator framework). The key activities will include case file audit and a staff survey. The case file audits will review social work, police and health records. A bespoke adult support and protection staff survey will be issued to staff from social work, social care, health and police in each partnership area.

Purpose of activity

The purpose of this joint inspection is to seek assurance that adults at risk of harm in Scotland are supported and protected by existing national and local adult support and protection arrangements. The inspection programme is one element of an overall Scottish Government improvement plan.

Programme Update – April 2022

Frequently asked questions about phase 1 of the inspection programme can be found here.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport requested that the inspection programme resume in a proportionate and sensitive manner and wrote to COSLA and SOLACE about this on 3 March 2021. This reflected the Scottish Government view that the time was right for inspections to resume to provide assurance on the ongoing protection for adults at risk of harm, while managing the risk to individuals and the wider COVID-19 response.

The inspection programme continues at the request of Scottish Ministers. In December 2021, the Minster for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care indicated that they recognised and appreciated the pressures partnerships faced, whilst also recognising the importance of the adult support and protection inspection programme. 

During what is an ongoing time of challenge for adult protection partnerships, the joint inspection team continually reviews our approach to inspection, while not compromising the integrity of the methodology.

The inspection programme slowed, in recognition of winter pressures. Notification of inspections were issued in February 2022. It is intended that we will notify individual areas (rather than batch inspection) through to planned completion of phase 1 in July 2023. The planning process previously considered natural boundaries or crossover in local partnership arrangements for social work, police and health. Feedback from adult protection partnerships was that, at times, this concentrated activity in one area which – in consideration of the impact of covid – was demanding. As such, the scheduling of future inspections has been considerate of this.

A partnership briefing document has been prepared by the inspection team to give you an overview and outline of the streamlined and accelerated joint inspection programme. The below documents are referenced within the partnership briefing document.

The joint inspection team have also made a number of other documents available to support partnerships.  These are provided as PDF documents for information.  Each partnership will be provided with the relevant documents in the correct format for completion/submission at the appropriate juncture.

 Please direct any enquiries to the joint inspection team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.