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Role and duties of Safeguarding Adults Boards

Overarching purpose

The overarching purpose of an SAB is to help and safeguard adults with care and support needs. It does this by:

  • assuring itself that local safeguarding arrangements are in place as defined by the Care Act 2014 and statutory guidance
  • assuring itself that safeguarding practice is person-centred and outcome-focused
  • working collaboratively to prevent abuse and neglect where possible
  • ensuring agencies and individuals give timely and proportionate responses when abuse or neglect have occurred
  • assuring itself that safeguarding practice is continuously improving and enhancing the quality of life of adults in its area.

The SAB must lead adult safeguarding arrangements across its locality and oversee and coordinate the effectiveness of the safeguarding work of its member and partner agencies. This will require the SAB to develop and actively promote a culture with its members, partners and the local community that recognises the values and principles contained in ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’. It should also concern itself with a range of issues which can contribute to the wellbeing of its community and the prevention of abuse and neglect, such as:

  • the safety of people who use services in local health settings, including mental health
  • the safety of adults with care and support needs living in social housing
  • effective interventions with adults who self-neglect, for whatever reason
  • the quality of local care and support services
  • the effectiveness of prisons in safeguarding offenders
  • making connections between adult safeguarding and domestic abuse.

Core duties

SABs have three core duties. They must:

  • develop and publish a strategic plan setting out how they will meet their objectives and how their member and partner agencies will contribute
  • publish an annual report detailing how effective their work has been
  • commission safeguarding adults reviews (SARs) for any cases which meet the criteria for these.

In order to meet their core duties and overarching objective, SABs will require information including general and personal data. Personal data is needed to undertake, for example, safeguarding adults reviews and general data is needed to identify trends and patterns in safeguarding activity, abuse and neglect. The grounds on which SABs can require information to be supplied to them are specified in Section 45 of the Care Act. Legal advice may need to be sought on how to enforce this power effectively.

The six safeguarding principles

  • Empowerment: people being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and give informed consent
  • Prevention: it is better to take action before harm occurs
  • Proportionality: the least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
  • Protection: support and representation for those in greatest need
  • Partnership: local solutions through services working with their communities – communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse
  • Accountability and transparency in safeguarding practice