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Data collection and analysis

Local authorities are required to collect standard data on safeguarding case work and report this to the Health and Social Care Information Centre This data should be summarised and reported to the SAB so that it can use it to evaluate and regionally benchmark its own safeguarding performance. The SAB is legally empowered to request the supply of information from other agencies and individuals in pursuit of its objectives. A local information-sharing agreement should set out how sensitive information is managed between agencies to ensure people are properly safeguarded and reassure staff that it is their duty to share sensitive information to protect adults. The SAB should seek legal advice if such a request is refused or the provision of information is unduly delayed.

A SAB can consider the data it has produced to make comparisons, for example between types of victim, geographical areas or safeguarding teams. Over a number of years it will be able to identify trends. The data upon which the SAB can focus includes:

  • rates of reporting
  • rates of investigation
  • types of victim
  • types of abuser
  • types of abuse and neglect
  • types of setting
  • timeliness of investigations
  • outcomes for victims.

The collection and analysis of data is an important task, though sometimes considered laborious. SABs need to ensure that their members understand the data and that good use is made of it. Some boards have developed a ‘dashboard of indicators’ to make the data more accessible to their members (e.g. Leeds SAB). Many SABs have data analysis reports as a standing agenda item to inform their understanding of their effectiveness and promote improvement. For example, a SAB may note that some safeguarding cases do not seem to be managed in a timely way and request case audits.