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Safeguarding Adults Boards – Reviews and case audits

SABs are responsible, under the Care Act 2014, for arranging safeguarding adults reviews. Some SABs have established subgroups to manage the SAR process. There is a range of models available for safeguarding adults reviews. Some boards already have experience of commissioning safeguarding adults reviews and have developed models of their own. There are a number of other formal review processes, including serious case reviews and domestic homicide reviews, which have criteria which may be met as well as those for a safeguarding adults review. SABs will need to develop agreements with other local multi-agency partnerships about how such cases will be managed and reviewed, including the implementation and monitoring of any recommendations for practice.

In addition, SABs should develop a range of multi-agency discretionary review processes, including case audits, to ensure that appropriate learning takes place from both good and poor practice.

Safeguarding adults reviews should take place within a wider culture of practitioner learning and development. It is appropriate for SABs to set in place arrangements for practitioners from all agencies concerned with adult safeguarding to have regular opportunities to reflect on their own practice and that of their colleagues, and to learn from effective safeguarding work as well from lessons provided by safeguarding adults reviews.

SABs should consider establishing multi-agency adult practitioner forums which meet regularly to provide ongoing programmes of learning, enabling practitioners to discuss:

  • cases that demonstrate practice from which others can learn
  • ongoing cases (anonymised) that are presenting difficulty and where advice is sought
  • how to apply learning from safeguarding adults reviews, both local and those from other areas
  • the implications of findings from local case audits
  • the implications for their practice of any changes in legislation and guidance
  • research findings and their implications for practice.

Issues to consider include:

  • How will SABs establish and support learning forums?
  • How many will be required to cover the geographical area of the SAB?
  • How often should they meet?
  • How will any costs, direct and indirect, be met?
  • How will they ensure the commitment of partner agencies so that the full range of appropriate practitioners attend forums?
  • If issues arise from forum discussions which should come to the attention of the SAB, how will this be managed?

Case audits are an important method for SABs and their member agencies to employ to ascertain the quality of safeguarding work. SABs need to decide whether they want their member agencies to conduct their own audits, singly or jointly, or to provide a board structure for audits to be managed.

The frequency and type of audits will need to be agreed. For example, the use of case sampling and targeted audits where there may be specific issues such as timeliness of investigations. The reporting arrangements to the board for audit findings will also need to be established.