Safeguarding Adult Boards
1. Safeguarding Adult Boards
The aim of the Safeguarding Adults Board
Section 43 of the Care Act requires every Local Authority to establish a Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) for its area. The SAB operates at a strategic level, helping and protecting adults in its area from abuse and neglect through co-ordinating and reviewing a multi-agency approach across all member organisations. The approach that the SAB takes directly influences how frontline safeguarding operations are undertaken in each member organisation.
Although the Local Authority is responsible for establishing and maintaining a SAB the SAB is concerned with much more than the safeguarding activity of the Local Authority. It oversees and leads on all adult safeguarding across the entire locality area. To do this effectively it must concern itself with a whole range of matters, including but not limited to:
- The safety of patients in its local health services (commissioned and non-commissioned);
- The quality of local Care and Support services (commissioned and non-commissioned);
- The effectiveness of prisons in safeguarding vulnerable offenders;
- How effectively further education services safeguard adults;
To gather intelligence about the whole range of matters the SAB must concerns itself with it must have representation from each area. Collaboration and co-operation are key to the effectiveness of the SAB.
Safeguarding Adult Board Membership
Under the Care Act certain organisations have to be part of an SAB. These are:
- The Local Authority which set it up;
- The Clinical Commissioning Groups in the Local Authority area; and
- The Chief Officer of Police in the Local Authority area.
Depending on local intelligence and need the core board members can agree to invite other agencies or persons to be a member of the SAB. For example, the Care Quality Commission or an organisation that provides Independent Advocacy to represent adults with Care and Support needs.
Other persons or organisations can be invited to attend specific meetings or to participate without being members of the board. Examples include:
- Ambulance and fire services;
- Representatives of providers of health and social care services, including independent providers;
- Department for Work and Pensions;
- Representatives of housing providers, housing support providers, probation and prison services;
- General practitioners;
- Representatives of further education colleges;
- Members of user, advocacy and carer groups;
- Local healthwatch;
- Care Quality Commission;
- Representatives of children's safeguarding boards; and
- Trading standards.
Safeguarding Adult Board Duties and Functions
The main objective of the SAB
The main objective of the SAB is to assure itself that local safeguarding arrangements and partners act to help and protect adults in its area who:
- Have needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs);
- Are experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
- As a result of their care and support needs are unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.
The duties of the SAB
A SAB has 3 core duties:
- It must publish an evidence based strategic plan for each financial year that sets out how it will meet the above objective and what each member will do to achieve this;
- It must publish an annual report detailing what the SAB and each member has done during the year to achieve the above objective and implement the strategic plan, and detail the findings of any Safeguarding Adults Reviews that have taken place;
- It must conduct any Safeguarding Adults Reviews under Section 44 of the Act. See Safeguarding Adults Review for further details about what a review is and when a review must take place.
Other functions carried out by the SAB to fulfil its duty and meet its objective
Developing strategies for the prevention of abuse and neglect is one of the primary functions and responsibilities of the SAB. Examples include:
- Commissioners and the regulator (normally CQC) working with providers to address poor quality care;
- The police and housing working to address hate crime or anti-social behaviour in a particular neighbourhood; and
- The Local Authority working with people who have Care and Support needs to produce accessible information and advice about reducing the risk of abuse or neglect.
- To identify the role, responsibility, authority and accountability of each agency or professional group in relation to safeguarding adults;
- Analysing and interrogating data on safeguarding notifications to increase the SAB's understanding of prevalence of abuse and neglect that builds up over time;
- Holding partners to account and challenging member organisations to maintain effectiveness;
- Arranging for peer review and self-audit;
- Developing policies and strategies for protecting adults in collaboration with relevant agencies and adults with Care and Support needs, carers and advocates;
- Consider a range of circumstances and provide clarity on whether an enquiry and referral to the Local Authority would be required;
- Formulate guidance around adult safeguarding arrangements and processes, including complaints, grievances and response to professional malpractice;
- Develop strategies to deal with wider abuse and neglect related issues of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability;
- Share information appropriately for the purpose of protecting adults;
- Monitor and review the impact of policy and training;
- Promote multi-agency training and specialist training;
- Provide information and advice to other partnership organisations such as the Community Safety Partnership or the Domestic Abuse Board; and
- Any other function the SAB deems necessary to meet its main objective.
Providing Information to the SAB
If a Safeguarding Adults Board requests a person or organisation to supply information to it they must comply with the request if:
- The request is made for the purposes of enabling the SAB to exercise its function; and
- The request is made to the person most relevant to provide the information.
The SAB can only use the information obtained for the purpose of carrying out its functions.
All information must be requested and provided in line with the Caldicott Principles:
- Information will only be shared on a 'need to know' basis when it is in the interests of the adult;
- Confidentiality must not be confused with secrecy;
- Informed consent should be obtained but, if this is not possible and other adults are at risk of abuse or neglect, it may be necessary to override the requirement; and
- It is inappropriate for agencies to give assurances of absolute confidentiality in cases where there are concerns about abuse, particularly in those situations when other adults may be at risk.
2. Safeguarding Adult Review
The Safeguarding Adults Board must arrange for a review of a safeguarding case relating to an individual if:
- The person has died and the SAB suspects that the death resulted from abuse or neglect (whether or not the Local Authority had been alerted to the abuse or neglect prior to death); or
- The person is alive but the SAB knows or suspects that they have experienced serious abuse or neglect; and
- There is a reasonable cause for concern about how the SAB, its members or other persons involved worked together to safeguard the adult.
Each member of the SAB must co-operate and contribute to the SAR. The purpose of a SAR is not to proportion blame but to identify learning and decide how to apply this to future cases.
The SAR process
The SAB should weigh up what type of review process will best promote effective learning and improvement action to prevent future deaths or serious harm occurring again.
The approach should be proportionate to the scale of the abuse or neglect that has occurred, the impact on the person and the level of complexity in the issues to be examined during the review.
The person and/or their family or representative should be consulted when deciding how to complete the SAR, so that they can be as involved as possible and the 6 key principles of safeguarding apply. See the Aims and Principles of all Adult Safeguarding.
The SAB should aim for completion of a SAR within a reasonable period of time and in any event within 6 months of initiating it, unless there are good reasons for a longer period being required.
A formal report should be written following a SAR to detail how the review was carried out, the conclusions reached and learning identified, and how this learning will be taken into action by the SAB.