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Safeguarding Adults Boards – Annual reports

The Care Act 2014 requires each SAB to publish an annual report. Most SABs already produce annual reports, although their content and format vary. The Care Act (Schedule 2.4 (1) a – g) defines the minimum content of an annual report thus:

As soon as is feasible after the end of each financial year, a SAB must publish a report on:

  • what it has done during that year to achieve its objective,
  • what it has done during that year to implement its strategy,
  • what each member has done during that year to implement the strategy,
  • the findings of the reviews arranged by it under section 44 (safeguarding adults reviews) which have concluded in that year (whether or not they began in that year),
  • the reviews arranged by it under that section which are ongoing at the end of that year (whether or not they began in that year),
  • what it has done during that year to implement the findings of reviews arranged by it under that section, and
  • where it decides during that year not to implement a finding of a review arranged by it under that section, the reasons for its decision.

The performance of member agencies and how effectively, or otherwise, they are working together should be included in the report. Questions for consideration include the following:

  • Are adequate resources being committed by each agency?
  • Is there effective collaborative working?
  • Is the sum of their efforts greater than the parts?
  • Is the service model in place fit for purpose and the best available?
  • What examples are there of a culture of challenge to performance across the SAB?

The annual report must be sent to:

  • the chief executive and leader of the local authority which established the SAB
  • any local policing body that is required to sit on the SAB
  • the local Healthwatch organisation
  • the chair of the local health and wellbeing board.

It is good practice for the SAB’s strategic plan to be sent with the annual report and for the SAB chair to attend relevant forums to speak about both.

Annual reports should form the basis for the consultation on the strategic plan for the coming year. There are practical difficulties completing annual reports at the end of the financial year due to the need to collect, analyse and present data, so their completion will usually be at a point following the financial year-end.

A SAB may develop a strategy for the dissemination of its annual report that is broader than the minimum required by the Care Act. Most SABs already have their own website that can be used for this purpose.

A SAB should consider the target audience of its annual report. The report should be seen as a key part of its strategy to promote its profile with the public and other local multi-agency partnerships as well as the profile of safeguarding adults in its area. It may be appropriate to publish an executive summary and versions targeted at specific audiences. The annual report should be publicly available on, and remain on, the SAB’s and members’ websites and made available on request in alternative formats, such as Easy Read, other languages and Braille.

A SAB should seek assurance from its members that the annual report has been considered within their internal governance processes.

Issues to consider include:

  • Is the board clear about the purpose and the target audience for the annual report? If there is more than one audience, do they need separate reports?
  • Who ‘owns’ the annual report – who has the final say in what it contains?
  • Do individual agencies submit reports for inclusion or should their activity on behalf of the SAB be identified through reports from the SAB’s subgroups?
  • What is the relationship between safeguarding activity recorded in the annual reports of the SAB’s member agencies and the SAB’s annual report?
  • Should the annual report be considered by the local authority’s overview and scrutiny panel and its cabinet as well as the clinical commissioning group and any police governing bodies?
  • Should the annual report be considered by district/borough councils in non-unitary authorities?
  • Should SABs produce collated reports for agencies such as NHS provider trusts that operate across several local authorities?
  • Should the annual report in all its formats only be disseminated electronically?