Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs)

The Care Act 2014 states that Safeguarding Adult Boards (SABs) must arrange a Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR) when an adult in its area dies as a result of abuse or neglect, whether known or suspected, and there is concern that partner agencies could have worked together more effectively to protect the adult. This is a statutory responsibility.

The overall purpose of a Safeguarding Adult Review is to promote learning and improve practice, not to re-investigate or to apportion blame. The objectives include establishing:

  • lessons that can be learnt from how professionals and their agencies work together
  • how effective the safeguarding procedures are
  • learning and good practice issues
  • how to improve local inter-agency practice
  • service improvement or development needs for one or more service or agency.


SSASPB SAR publications can be found below;



A short audio clip giving an overview of the Andrew SAR and the lessons to learn from the reivew. 


Lessons learnt

Lessons learnt are shared to maximise the opportunity to better safeguard adults with care and support needs, who are or may be at risk of abuse or neglect. The Care Act 2014 requires that lessons learnt are published in the Annual Report following the conclusion of the review.

The Board has developed a SSASPB Safeguarding Adult Review protocol and supporting appendices which provide further information.

Lessons Learnt - key themes identified in reviews

These themes have been identified from Multi-Agency Learning Reviews and SARs.

  • Record keeping. Records need to contain as much information as possible to show reasoning behind decision-making to:
    • maximise the opportunity for effective supervision and also
    • optimise the ability of others to support the adult if the case is handed over.
  • Use of the SSASPB Escalation Guidance: Greater awareness of the Escalation Guidance is needed to encourage those working with adults to effectively resolve professional challenges at the earliest opportunity.
  • Appointment of a lead professional 

The SCIE have also published a useful video regarding national recurring lessons to learn Safeguarding adults in practice Steven Hoskin ten years on.

SSASPB lessons learnt

National lessons learnt 

A national database of SARs has been compiled to assist with learning lessons from SARs which is open to professionals and the public. The data base includes SARs published from 1st April 2019. The list is searchable and will allow the use of key words including types of abuse, types of care and support need as well as place of residence and potential identified themes. A link to the website can be found here


The Care and Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) safeguarding workstream commissioned Suzy Braye, Michael Preston-Shoot and Research in Practice to undertake a review of SARs published in 2018/18 and 2018/19 to inform future priorities for sector led improvement in safeguarding adults’ practice.

The full report, Analysis of Safeguarding Adult Reviews: April 2017 - March 2019, is lengthy and academic, reflecting the considerable work that has been undertaken, the range and depth of analysis. Six shorter targeted briefings have been developed to enable easier access to the wealth of information and guidance arising from this work, links to which can be found below;