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Making Safeguarding Personal

What is Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP)?

Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP) is about professionals working with adults at risk to ensure that they are making a positive difference to their lives. It is the importance of ensuring that our interventions are led by the individual, focused on their outcomes and desires and what they wish the achieve. When looking at Safeguarding it is paramount that we ensure that we not only consider how to keep a person safe, but we consider their wellbeing.

“What’s the point of making someone safe if in doing so you just make them miserable?”

-Mr Justice Munby, 2007.

Throughout Safeguarding processes, we should empower, engage and inform individuals so that they can prevent and resolve abuse and neglect in their own lives and build their personal resilience. Actions taken must enhance an individual’s involvement, choice and control as well as improving quality of life, wellbeing and safety.

It is not “just another process”, it underpins all your interactions and involvement with the adult at risk. Processes should fit around the person to ensure that the individual’s views remain central in any safeguarding journey.

'Making Safeguarding Personal is about me, not without me'

Making Safeguarding Personal in Practice+

How to put Making Safeguarding Personal into practice from the point where it is believed there is potential abuse

  • Speak to the adult at risk.
  • Ask for their opinion, record their views as they have expressed them and work with them to help them achieve the outcomes that are best for them.
  • Focus on the individuals' strengths (including personal strengths and social and community networks).
  • Make sure you find out who else they would like to be involved or spoken to as part of the process.
  • Consider if the adult at risk requires a representative or advocate and, if so, ensure that representative/advocate is involved as well.
  • Make sure the adult at risk understands any options open to them and that they understand why some options may not be available or are unachievable.
  • Develop plans with the adult at risk to reduce or remove risks, including any immediate risks of harm.
  • Should a person decide to remain living with the risk, make sure the person understands this and any actions they can take to maximise their safety.

Misconceptions of Making Safeguarding Personal+

Making Safeguarding Personal does not involve:

  • Premature closing of involvement with someone when they express they do not want anything to happen – it is important that Professional Curiosity is used to ensure that another person in the background isn’t pushing professionals away.
  • A tick box exercise or a separate process; MSP underpins all contact and work with adults at risk.
  • Just chatting with an Adult at Risk– conversations should be focused on establishing the adult’s wishes and reasoning behind those wishes. It is about using good communications skills to engage with people who may find the process difficult and distressing. 
  • A professional not believing that MSP is suitable for those that lack Mental Capacity– conversations should still be had with the adult at risk or their representative.
  • Your interpretation of what you think they want or just what you think is best for them.

Waltham Forest Council have produced a video of their Adult Social Care Manager John, speaking about Making Safeguarding Personal

Further Guidance 

Making Safeguarding Personal | Local Government Association

Making Safeguarding Personal toolkit | Local Government Association

Myths and realities about Making Safeguarding Personal (local.gov.uk)


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