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Safeguarding Adults Boards – Strategic plans

SABs are required to publish a strategic plan that covers each financial year. Effectiveness may be improved by creating a ‘rolling plan’ setting out the strategy for at least the next three years that is reviewed and revised annually. SABs may also choose to publish separate business plans so that the strategic plan does not include practical issues which are not strategic.

The strategic plan must specify how the SAB will seek to prevent abuse and neglect and how it will help and protect people with care and support needs at risk of abuse and neglect. The SAB must engage and consult with the local Healthwatch and the local community in preparing its plan.

Local community groups that should be engaged in the process should include:

  • advocacy groups
  • disability groups and relevant voluntary organisations
  • other boards and partnerships, especially those without representation on the SAB.

The strategic plan should focus on planned work with member and partner agencies as well as other local multi-agency partnerships to address its prevention agenda in areas such as:

  • bullying, harassment and hate crime
  • domestic abuse
  • antisocial behaviour
  • scams, doorstep and other organised crime
  • financial theft and fraud
  • sexual exploitation
  • slavery and trafficking.

The strategic plan should be informed by data analysis and comparison, over time and with other boards. Use should be made of qualitative data so that, for example, the experiences and voices of survivors of abuse and neglect are heard and inform the strategic plan. The findings of case reviews, audits and safeguarding adults reviews should be utilised.

The strategic plan needs to address identified weaknesses and respond to any opportunities which are identified. It should be informed by current research and by developments in other areas. For example, the SAB may wish to explore whether a multi-agency safeguarding hub will produce better outcomes than the current operational arrangements.

The strategic plan has two main purposes. It must:

  • specify the actions required by the SAB and each of its member agencies to implement the strategy, including timetables
  • inform the local community and all interested parties, including practitioners, about the work programme of the SAB.

The plan must be written in plain, jargon-free language and should be available on request in a range of formats, including an Easy Read version. The plan needs to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) to ensure that it will make a difference.

The SAB should seek assurance that the plan has been considered and ratified by member agencies’ internal governance processes. The plan should be circulated widely to the same forums and agencies as the annual report. The plan should be publicly available on, and remain, on the SAB’s and members’ websites.

Some SABs develop specific strategies that form a part of their strategic plan – for example, for staff training and development or development of policy and procedures. This should ensure compatibility and complementary outcomes, some of which may be common to more than one strategy.

Policy and procedures