Section 42 Enquiries by local authorities

What is a section 42 enquiry?

1. A local authority is under a duty to make enquiries or to ask others to make enquiries where they reasonably suspect that an adult in its area is at risk of neglect or abuse, including financial abuse.1Care Act 2014 s42, Explanatory Notes

2. The duty supplements the existing obligations on other organisations to look after the people in their care effectively, or, in the case of the police, to prevent and respond to criminal activity.2Care Act 2014 s42, Explanatory Notes

Abuse includes financial abuse

3.  “Abuse” is defined to include “financial abuse”. The Care Act explicitly refers to financial abuse not because it has a priority status, but for the avoidance of doubt because some definitions of abuse may not ordinarily include this type of abuse.3Care Act 2014 s42(3), Explanatory Notes

What is the purpose?

4. The purpose of the enquiry is to establish with the individual and/or their representatives, what, if any, action is required in relation to the situation; and to establish who should take such action.4Care Act 2014 s42, Explanatory Notes

Who is the subject of this duty?

5. The local authorities’ enquiry duty applies to adults:5Care Act 2014 s42(1), Explanatory Notes

  1. who have care and support needs (regardless of whether they are currently receiving support, from the local authority or indeed anyone); and
  2. who are at risk of or experiencing neglect or abuse, including financial abuse; but
  3. who are unable to protect themselves.

Entitlement to LA services is irrelevant

6. The eligibility criteria that the local authority sets for services and support are not relevant in relation to safeguarding. Safeguarding enquiries should be made on the understanding of the risk of neglect or abuse, irrespective of whether the individual would meet the criteria for the provision of services.6Care Act 2014 s42, Explanatory Notes

LA’s responsibility relates to all adults in its geographical area

7. The local authority has a responsibility to make enquiries if the adult is currently in its geographical area of responsibility (whether or not the person is ordinarily resident there).7Care Act 2014 s42, Explanatory Notes

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