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A peer approach to the evaluation of adult support and protection processes in North Ayrshire

John Burns (North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Irvine, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 31 May 2018

Issue publication date: 18 October 2018




By adopting a “peer approach,” the purpose of this paper is to evaluate the adult support and protection process in North Ayrshire from the perspective of patients, service users and carers.


A research design was co-produced by health and social care staff and people with lived experience of ASP processes and experiences. The semi-structured interview design explored the ASP inquiry, investigation and case conference stages of the ASP process.


The study found some examples of good practice as well as some areas for improvement. The variability of experience, the provision of information, use of advocacy services and plans for future systematic evaluation of experiences were identified for possible improvement.

Research limitations/implications

The design somewhat limits generalizability; the sample size is small and although the findings and innovative approach involving those with lived experience may have wider appeal, the specific recommendations pertain to a specific local authority area in Scotland though these too may interest practitioners and researchers in other authorities.

Practical implications

The recommendations stand to improve services and process accessed and experienced by adults at risk of harm. Working with people with lived experience takes services closer to co-producing, designing and evaluating services and processes.


This study has high originality. Local value is high and is also likely to be valuable to those interested in adult support in protection generally and peer approaches across fields.



The author would like to thank the peer researchers for their invaluable input to the research project. A thanks is also extended to the North Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership Policy Officer for their support in the work, the ASP Learning and Development Adviser for their input to training, and to the North Ayrshire Adult Protection Committee for supporting this innovative approach to evaluation, and taking cognizance of its findings.


Burns, J. (2018), "A peer approach to the evaluation of adult support and protection processes in North Ayrshire", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 20 No. 3/4, pp. 155-167.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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