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Introduction to Safeguarding Adult Review Quality Markers

A new cycle of development (April 2022)

SCIE is pleased to relaunch the Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR) Quality Markers. First published in 2018, they have now been refreshed and updated. The revisions have drawn on:

  • feedback from some Safeguarding Adult Boards (SABs) and regional SAR Quality Champions since the first iteration
  • key messages from the national analysis of SARs 2017-2019 (
  • the evidence base and innovations related to effective incident reviews, sometimes referred to as ‘safety science’
  • good practice related to enabling change and development in organisations
  • common methods and tools for evaluating impact.
  • input from a workshop held to share SAB experiences of SAR publication and dissemination, improvement action and evaluating impact.

The SAR QM were refreshed and relaunched in April 2022.

As the refreshed SAR QMs are used, SCIE continues to seek feedback via relevant networks.

What are Safeguarding Adult Review Quality Markers?

SAR Quality Markers are a tool to support people involved in commissioning, conducting and quality-assuring SARs to know what good looks like. Covering the whole process, they provide a consistent and robust approach to SARs.

The Quality Markers are based on statutory requirements, established principles of effective reviews and incident investigations, as well as practice experience and ethical considerations.

The SAR Quality Markers assume the principles of Making Safeguarding Personal, as well as the Six Principles of Safeguarding that underpin all adult safeguarding work (Empowerment; Prevention; Proportionate; Protection; Partnership; Accountable). These principles therefore permeate the Quality Markers explicitly and implicitly.

How can Safeguarding Adult Review Quality Markers be used?

The SAR Quality Markers can be used flexibly and in a variety of different ways. They can be used according to your needs. For example:

  • Is there a particular area of SAR activity that as a SAR subgroup or a reviewer, you feel less confident about? Find the relevant Quality Marker and use it to update your understanding of what good looks like and the issues involved.
  • Have you had your fingers burned before, due to misunderstandings of expectations between SAB commissioner and independent reviewer commissionee? Use the whole suite of SAR Quality Markers to inform the scoping process and make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • As a SAB Chair, SAB and Subgroup members, do you find yourselves stuck in a one-size-fits-all approach to SARs? Use the SAR Quality Markers on commissioning to build confidence in designing SARs that are proportionate in order to gain maximum value from each SAR.
  • Are you a new SAB Chair or new reviewer? Use the SAR Quality Markers as part of your induction, to make sure you are working to the best available evidence base.
  • Are your SAB quality assurance processes for SARs working effectively? Use relevant SAR Quality Markers to check you are prioritising the right things.
  • Is your role to support the practical planning of the SAR? Use the Quality Markers to check that you have anticipated all the relevant needs.

How do Safeguarding Adult Review Quality Markers help?

The SAR Quality Markers are intended to support commissioners and lead reviewers to commission and conduct high-quality reviews. They capture principles of good practice and pose questions to help commissioners and reviewers consider how they might best achieve them.

How the Quality Markers are structured

The SAR Quality Markers are arranged in three sections:

The Quality Markers are numbered sequentially. Each has a quality statement, which is a summary description of the mark of quality. A list of questions are then provided to help people consider how they will know if they are on track to meet the marker. We have differentiated the questions per function, and colour-coded them accordingly. The aim is to allow people in different roles to readily identify the questions relevant to them.