How do you assess the level of risk in safeguarding?

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Among the most vulnerable in our society are:

  • Children and young adults
  • The elderly and frail
  • Those with learning difficulties
  • Those with physical disabilities
  • Those with mental health conditions
  • Those with alcohol or drug addiction problems

Organisations that carry out safeguarding must ensure that they handle each case in a way that is proportional while also taking care to ensure they act as unobtrusively as possible.

Safeguarding risk assessment

When conducting safeguarding, it is important an individual’s right to have control over their life is respected while also protecting them from harm.

To help organisations ensure that vulnerable people are being provided with an appropriate service or level of help or intervention, a risk assessment is used.

An individual’s risk rating will then help to decide the following:

  • The severity of the risk they are facing
  • Their eligibility for safeguarding services
  • Their mental capacity to make decisions regarding risks
  • Whether existing safeguarding interventions are working

The safeguarding risk assessment calculates a numerical risk rating for individual cases.

This provides a standardised framework for helping to safeguard individuals, and gives a means for assessing whether the practices put into place have proved to be effective.

Risk ratings

As described above, once a risk assessment has been carried out, a risk rating is then given to the case.

The risk rating takes into consideration the consequence of a hazard, and the likelihood of it occurring again.

The individual is given a score out of five for each of these factors, and these two figures are multiplied together to calculate an overall risk rating.

One example of a scale that might be used is the following:

The risk ratings are as follows:

1-3: Low risk

4-6: Moderate risk

8-12: High risk

15-25: Severe risk

This numerical score can be tracked across the course of the safeguarding process to provide a clear indication as to whether interventions are working or not.

At the outset, it helps to decide what action should be taken to keep a person safe from harm.

What level of risk is a priority 4 in safeguarding?

Safeguarding vulnerable adults and children is a significant objective for health professionals in the UK.

With that in mind, there is a requirement to have an understanding of an individual’s rights, as well as your responsibilities towards them.

Local authorities have safeguarding duties, which are enshrined in law, that they carry out to protect vulnerable adults and children.

While the criteria to classify an individual as low or high risk is broadly the same between areas, there will be small differences in the ways that those officials assessing a case will decide whether to prioritise an intervention.

To put it another way, a ‘priority 4’ example in one area may mean something else in another.

Train with CBAT

Safeguarding is an extremely important practice that many vulnerable people rely on to protect their health and welfare.

Ensuring that your organisation provides professional safeguarding training to employees could in fact be lifesaving for some.

Here at CBAT, we offer a range of professional safeguarding training courses to provide anyone who works with vulnerable people with the knowledge and understanding they require to protect them from harm.

Browse our Combined Safeguarding Level 3 Course online or speak to a member of our team by calling 01772 816 922 or emailing