Best Practice – Working with Protected Adults

Best Practice – Working with Adults at Risk of Harm (previously ‘Protected Adults’)

I have been requested to look at working practices for ‘adults at risk’ (please refer to PVG page for more detailed information about the definition of an adult at risk) as everything appears to be focused on child protection and more clarity is needed.

I agreed to go away and do some research and unfortunately have come up with very little.

There are guidelines on supervising adults who want to volunteer for work or for staff working in organisations whose sole purpose is to support vulnerable/adults at risk, but I couldn’t locate anything specific that might provide some advice about how to mitigate risks and keep everyone as safe as possible.  So… I asked myself “how we can all enjoy the benefits of being involved in drama but keep ourselves safe without being intrusive”

We are all people with different needs and if I were allergic to peanuts or diabetic I would have some responsibility to tell someone in case an emergency situation occurred and I wasn’t able to communicate at that point.  On the other hand it may just be part of my every day life and I wouldn’t think to mention it unless asked.  If you have a adult at risk in your group they and/or their parent/guardian or carer may not necessarily automatically think to tell you either because it is part of their every day life.

What should you do?

My suggestion is that you ask everyone the same questions about allergies or medical needs and include the direct question – do you meet the criteria of an adult at risk of harm (you could include the definition you can find here to avoid any misunderstandings).

Make sure that information about all additional needs and allergies are available at every rehearsal.  If people choose not to tell you that is their choice, but it does provide that extra bit of security in case of emergency.

Any of us can have an accident in the rehearsal room, it isn’t just young people who might slip or fall – do you have up to date emergency contact details for everyone and an agreed process for logging any accidents?  Why not put this in place now – you have to do this if you are working with children so why not do it for everyone?

Unless your club runs activities aimed at ‘adults at risk’ it is almost certain that anything you do will be ‘incidental’ rather than ‘regulated’ work and therefore would not meet the criteria for membership of the PVG scheme.  However if you are unsure please contact Volunteer Scotland to get their advice.

Talk to your members – make it as easy as possible for them to let you know if they have any specific needs and share the information with everyone who needs to know  (make sure you meet GDPR requirements and only share what is necessary in agreement with the individual).  I think if we are sensitive and responsive that is best practice and we don’t need someone else to tell us how to do that.

Take a look at the Legislation section of the website and you will find useful resources and templates on the PVG page.  These can easily be adapted for your club and will save you a lot of time.

I am always happy to get your comments and feedback so feel free to respond to this blog or email me on

See you down the road



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