SAR 4b SAR parallel processes guidance

SAR 4b: Safeguarding Adults Review – Parallel Processes

In setting up a SAR the SSASPB should consider how the process can dovetail with any other relevant investigations that are running parallel, such as a Child Safeguarding Practice Review (SPR) a Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR), Domestic Homicide Review (DHR), a criminal investigation, MAPPA Serious Case Review or an inquest.

If the criteria for a Safeguarding Adults Review has been met and a death has occurred the SSASPB SAR sub-group is advised to liaise with their local Coroner’s Office to ensure that the arrangements for undertaking a Safeguarding Adults Review are acceptable. The Coroner has no statutory responsibility to liaise with the SSASPB. The Coroner may have a duty to disclose any information provided to them.

There are separate requirements in statutory guidance for both a child SPR and a DHR. Where such reviews may be relevant to SAR (e.g. because they concern the same perpetrator), consideration will  be given to how SARs, DHRs and SPRs can be managed in parallel in the most effective manner possible so that organisations and professionals can learn from the case. It may be helpful when running a parallel process to establish at the outset all the relevant areas that need to be addressed, to reduce potential for duplication for families and staff.

When notifying a possible DHR the notifying agency (the Police) will ensure that the SSASPB Manager is alerted. The SSASPB Manager will consult with the local authority DHR lead to negotiate an invitation to the scoping panel in order that any potential adult safeguarding issues can be considered at the earliest opportunity and agreement reached on how these are progressed.

Any SAR will need to take account of a coroner‘s inquiry, and, or, any criminal investigation related to the case, including disclosure issues, to ensure that relevant information can be shared without incurring significant delay in the review process. It will be the responsibility of the Board Manager to ensure contact is made with the Chair of any parallel process in order to negotiate appropriate SSASPB representation on the review, to minimise avoidable duplication for the organisations involved and to ensure that the SSASPB is updated on progress through the SAR sub-group. Recommendations relating to the SSASPB can then be considered and agreed before finalisation of the review.

Where the case is subject to ongoing police investigation or other proceedings this should not inhibit the need to initiate a Scoping Panel nor delay any immediate action required to improve services. However, due regard for criminal/civil process should be observed at all times by the SSASPB; the CPS reviewing lawyer and Police Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) should be engaged in the review process. The following approach should be considered:

  • The SIO should be notified of the commencement of the SAR process and invited to the scoping panel. They should consider what material would be useful to the SAR in terms of learning. However the police SAR panel member will not be part of the investigation.
  • The SIO must be notified of individuals involved in the SAR process, including Scoping Panel, interviews/conversations, practitioner/learning events and family members
  • The SIO should be consulted on the terms of reference before they are finalised in order to make any reasonable representations
  • All Scoping Panel/Review Panel members involved in the SAR process will be bound by the SSASPB terms of confidentiality
  • Material generated by the SAR process is third party material and if the SIO has genuine reason to believe that this may be relevant to the prosecution case they may make a request for the Disclosure Officer to view it.

In May 2014 the National Policing Homicide Working Group (Child Death sub group) on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (now National Police Chiefs Council) and the Crown Prosecution Service published guidance for the Police, CPS and Local Safeguarding Children Boards – ‘Liaison and information exchange when criminal proceedings coincide with Chapter Four Serious Case Reviews or Welsh Child Practice Reviews’. This guidance was supported by the Association of Independent LSCB Chairs and complements existing CPS Legal Guidance. The principles of this guidance will be relevant to the Safeguarding Adults Review process.

There must be liaison with other departments or agencies where applicable for example the CPS, agency complaints teams and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to ensure that any adult or family engagement in the SAR process will not compromise other proceedings. The adult or family must be informed of any decision not to have early engagement with them together with the reasons for the delay. 

LGO Jurisdiction

Complaints about a SAB and/or any of its functions can be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman. This will include the conduct of a SAR.

Further information is available from the LGO report ‘Casework Guidance Statement: Safeguarding Adults Boards’.


Updated Feb 20