Section 127 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 enables applications to be made to magistrates' courts for adult protection and support orders. The purpose of such orders is to enable an authorised officer to speak in private to a person suspected of being an adult at risk to establish whether he or she can make decisions freely, to assess whether the person is an adult at risk and to establish whether any action should be taken, and if so, what action.
Applications for such orders may be made by an authorised officer who is an individual authorised by the local authority to perform functions under this section. Regulations can place restrictions on who may be authorised under this section, for example, by requiring particular qualifications or experience. (see the Adult Protection and Support Orders (Authorised Officer) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/1465))
When an adult protection and support order is in force the authorised officer, a police constable (if considered necessary) and any other person specified in the order has the power to enter the premises where the suspected adult at risk is living, for the purposes of the order. The constable may use reasonable force (for example, to gain access to the premises where the adult at risk lives) if such force is necessary to enable the purposes of the order to be fulfilled.
An adult protection and support order can only be granted if the court is satisfied that –
(a) the authorised officer has reasonable cause to suspect that a person is an adult at risk,
(b) it is necessary for the authorised officer to gain access to the person in order properly to assess whether the person is an adult at risk and to make a decision as required by section 126(2) on what, if any, action should be taken,
(c) making an order is necessary in order to fulfil the purposes set out in subsection (2), and
(d) exercising the power of entry conferred by the order will not result in the person being at greater risk of abuse or neglect.
Statutory guidance in relation to Adult Protection and Support Orders has been issued under the powers in section 131 of the 2014 Act. See Working together to safeguard people: Volume 1 – Introduction and overview