Tories fail to commit to adult safeguarding legislation

The Conservatives have given no indication on whether they would legislate to put adult safeguarding boards on a statutory footing should they win this year’s general election.

Yesterday, the government announced plans for legislation on boards as part of its response to its consultation on reviewing the No Secrets adult protection guidance.

But with an election due by 3 June and expected to take place in May, there appears to be little prospect of a law being introduced and passed before then.

This issue was raised by Tory shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien in his response to the announcement.

He said: “[Care services minister] Phil Hope claims legislation will be put forward to create safeguarding adults boards in every local area but the minister knows there is very little time left before the election.”

O’Brien said the timing of the announcement “raises grave questions about ministers’ motives”, given the fact that the consultation on reviewing No Secrets closed a year ago.

However, a Tory spokesperson could not comment on whether the party would support legislation on safeguarding boards, and there is no indication on whether the Conservatives would introduce such a bill were they to win power.

The government’s line is that legislation will be brought in when parliamentary time allows, but the Department of Health would not comment on whether it would introduce a bill before the election.

O’Brien was also critical of the substance of the government’s proposals saying there was no indication about whether they would be adequately funded or whether the boards would have powers to intervene in cases of abuse.

This echoes concerns raised in the social care sector, despite the general support the government’s plans have received.

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