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SAR (Safeguarding Adults Review)

The Care Act 2014 states that:

Safeguarding Adult Boards must arrange a Safeguarding Adults 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 more effectively to protect the adult.

Safeguarding Adult Boards must also arrange a SAR if an adult in its area has not died, but the SAB knows or suspects that the adult has experienced serious abuse or neglect. In the context of SARs, something can be considered serious abuse or neglect where, for example the individual would have been likely to have died but for an intervention, or has suffered permanent harm or has reduced capacity or quality of life (whether because of physical or psychological effects) as a result of the abuse or neglect. SABs are free to arrange for a SAR in any other situations involving an adult in its area with needs for care and support.

The SAB should decide what type of ‘review’ process will promote effective learning and improvement action to prevent future deaths or serious harm occurring again. This may be where a case can provide useful insights into the way organisations are working together to prevent and reduce abuse and neglect of adults. SARs may also be used to explore examples of good practice where this is likely to identify lessons that can be applied to future cases.

The purpose of SARs is described in the statutory guidance as to ‘promote effective learning and improvement action to prevent future deaths or serious harm occurring again’.

The purpose of a SAR is not to hold any individual or organisation to account. Other processes exist for that purpose, including criminal proceedings, disciplinary procedures, employment law and systems of service and professional regulation run by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Health and Care Professions Council, and the General Medical Council etc.

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