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Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007: reflections on developing practice and present day challenges

Kathryn Mackay (University of Stirling, Stirling, UK)
Mary Notman (Perth and Kinross Council, Perth, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 14 August 2017




The purpose of this paper is to outline the duties and powers of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act (ASPSA) 2007 and place them in the wider Scottish adult protection legislative framework. It considers the potential value of a standalone adult safeguarding statute.


The authors draw upon their research and practice expertise to consider the merits of the ASPSA 2007. They take a case study approach to explore its implementation in one particular Scottish local authority, drawing on the qualitative and quantitative data contained in its annual reports.


Skilled, knowledgeable and well-supported practitioners are key to effective screening, investigations and intervention. Protection orders are being used as intended for a very small number of cases.

Research limitations/implications

The lack of national statistical reports means that there is limited scope for comparison between the local and national data.

Practical implications

Adult support and protection requires ongoing investment of time and leadership in councils and other local agencies to instigate and maintain good practice. Aspects that require further attention are self-neglect; capacity and consent and residents in care homes who pose potential risks to other residents and staff.

Social implications

ASPSA 2007 has helped to raise awareness of adults at risk of harm within the local communities and as social issue more generally.


The authors provide a critical appraisal of the implementation of Scottish adult safeguarding legislation over the last six years. They consider similar developments in England and Wales and argue for comparative research to test these out. Finally, they signpost future directions for bridging separate policy streams.



Mackay, K. and Notman, M. (2017), "Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007: reflections on developing practice and present day challenges", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 187-198.



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