Making Safeguarding Personal

Did you know?

  • Being safe is only one of the things that people want for themselves.
  • In the past, people have felt that safeguarding was ‘done to them’ instead of being ‘done with them’.
  • In RiPfA research, 95% of respondents thought MSP was the right approach to be taking in the current context.
We've created a 'Steps to Success' guide and checklist for partner organisations (see the links at the bottom of this page). The guide and checklist will help your organisation ensure that Making Safeguarding Personal is embedded in your policies, processes and strategy.  
Find out more about making safeguarding personal below.

What is Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP)?

Making Safeguarding Personal is a new way of working.  It’s an approach to safeguarding adults that is
• person-led
• person-centred
• outcomes-focused
• holistic 
MSP signals a shift away from process-driven practice toward person-centred practice.  MSP does away with professionals assuming they know what is best for the person.  MSP is about supporting people to lead the lives they want.
MSP applies to all adults at risk, whether they lack mental capacity to take part in a safeguarding enquiry about them or not.
Why is MSP important?
When it’s done properly, Making Safeguarding Personal enhances the service user’s involvement, choice and control.  And this in turn improves the service user’s quality of life, wellbeing and safety.
But it’s also important because all organisations must work in an MSP way to comply with the Care Act Guidance. 

Is MSP just for social workers?

No.  All professionals working with adults at risk must adopt the Making Safeguarding Personal approach.  Professionals, no matter which organisation they work in, should use the principles of person-centred safeguarding.  
‘People have complex lives and being safe is only one of the things they want for themselves.  Professionals should work with the adult to establish what being safe means to them and how that can be best achieved.
Professionals and other staff should not be advocating ‘safety’ measures that do not take account of individual well-being.’ 
Care & Support Statutory Guidance para 14.8

So what does MSP mean for the way we work?

It means all professionals must work in a person-centred, outcomes-focused way when it comes to safeguarding.  MSP focuses on 
  • the person
  • outcomes
  • enhancing involvement, choice and control
  • quality of life, wellbeing and safety.
In practice this means doing things such as
  • making sure that the person is involved from the beginning of the safeguarding enquiry and has an advocate if needed
  • making sure the person, their families and advocates, have every opportunity to query, challenge and otherwise be involved in decisions about their wellbeing and safety
  • shifting from a process supported by conversations to a series of conversations supported by a process
  • focusing on achieving meaningful improvement in the person’s circumstances, rather than on ‘investigating’ and ‘reaching a conclusion’
  • ensuring an emphasis in those conversations on what would improve quality of life as well as safety
  • taking time to engage, listen, understand and respect what matters to the person and the life they want – for example, a person may place a higher priority on preserving a family relationship than reporting a crime to the police
  • exploring with the person and their advocates the risks of their situation
  • talking through the options the person has and what they want to do about their situation
  • helping the person find their own solution to the risks - they are more likely to implement solutions that they have come up with themselves than if a professional imposes a solution on them
  • developing an understanding of the difference safeguarding makes
  • supporting the person to make their own decisions
  • saying sorry early on (in line with the new Duty of Candour)
  • being flexible about timescales to fit in with the person, but not allowing cases to ‘drift’
  • where practitioners have to take decisions against the wishes of the person, ensuring that the least intrusive or restrictive intervention is made appropriate to the risks presented
  • enabling service users to challenge agencies for their actions
  • supporting service users to have better / safer lives even in the last days of life
  • supporting service users to develop self-confidence and self-esteem
  • empowering them for the future

What’s important for the person?

We know from research that in safeguarding people want:
  • respect
  • information
  • transparency
  • accountability
  • insight
  • commitment
  • shared responsibility
  • self-belief
  • self-esteem
But other things may be important to them too.  So, always take the time to understand the person’s own priorities.  That way the safeguarding response will always be personalised.

What are the challenges to changing to an MSP way of working?

  • MSP approach can be more time-intensive at the beginning – taking time to understand the person’s priorities can feel time-consuming.  But this is generally balanced by efficiencies later in the safeguarding process.  Negotiating outcomes and solutions to risk with the service user can also prevent repeat safeguarding episodes in the future.
  • The IT recording systems (such as LAS, Rio and Datix) are not set up in a way that promotes a personalised, flexible approach to safeguarding.  In time, the IT recording systems should be updated to reflect best practice and legal requirements. 
  • Practitioners may need to improve their skills in managing difficult conversations with service users.  However, by involving the service user from the start of the safeguarding, discussions are less likely to end up with an oppositional ‘us and them’ dynamic.
  • The greater emphasis on professional judgement can seem daunting.  Seek guidance from your line manager or the safeguarding adults unit if you are unsure.

What can you do to embed MSP in your safeguarding practice?

  • First and foremost, put the service user at the centre
  • Ensure you have taken up opportunities for training on safeguarding adults, safeguarding enquiries and challenging conversations.
  • Share and celebrate good practice in your teams
  • Seek out mentoring and shadowing opportunities with more experienced practitioners
  • Feed back to your line manager how recording systems could be improved to allow you to record better your personalised approach to safeguarding adults.

Top tips

  1. Think ‘people’; not ‘process’
  2. Keep the person at the centre of everything you do in safeguarding.
  3. The wishes of an adult who lacks mental capacity are of equal importance to someone with mental capacity.  

Useful links