The membership of Safeguarding Adults Boards

Membership of SABs – Members

Local authorities are responsible for the establishment of SABs. The Care Act 2014 specifies that there are three core members:

The Care Act allows for further members to be specified in future.

For a SAB to fulfil its responsibilities and duties effectively, other agencies will need to be involved in its work. The local authority, having consulted with the other core members of the SAB, should invite those agencies and forums it identifies to be key partners to nominate representatives. Particular individuals may also be invited to join the SAB if the board considers that it will be beneficial. SABs may also need to seek ‘one-off’ specialist advice or information in relation to any of their functions, in order to assist the implementation of their objectives. This may include seeking legal advice or consulting specialist advisors.

The selection of agencies and individual members needs to be guided by the need for the SAB to keep itself informed about its local community, and about any wider safeguarding issues and risks.

Central to the Care Act is the need to place people with care and support needs and carers at the heart of safeguarding activity. It is therefore essential that they are meaningfully involved in the work of SABs.

There are many potentially useful members of SABs in addition to those specified in the Care Act. A SAB has to balance the desirability of inclusion with the practicality of having a board of a manageable size. SABs may establish subgroups and may also appoint ‘task-and-finish’ groups. The core SAB agencies need to determine how the range of agencies and individuals having contributions to make should be selected.

The membership of SAB – Seniority and leadership

A SAB must include members who have sufficient seniority and leadership within their own agency to speak on its behalf, to commit resources and agree actions and to represent their agency should the SAB need to hold it to account.

The membership of SAB – Skills and experience

A SAB should have a range of members bringing different skills and experience to meetings, but all members should have attended safeguarding awareness training and have:

Issues to consider include:

The membership of SAB – Chair and vice-chair

The appointment of the chair is made by the local authority in consultation with the other statutory SAB members. The chairs of SABs are accountable to the chief executive of the local authority. This mirrors the position of the independent chairs of local safeguarding children boards. It is good practice for the chief executive to meet both chairs, together and separately.

The chair may be an employee of one of the member agencies of the SAB but may alternatively be a person independent of any of them. The performance of the chair is critical to the effectiveness of a SAB. The chair’s functions include:

An independent chair can provide some independence from the local authority and other partners. This is especially important in terms of:

The SAB should appoint a vice-chair able to deputise effectively for the chair.

Issues to consider with regard to the chair and vice-chair include the following.