February 2023: This chapter was amended throughout to update text and links. Please note NHS Digital merged with NHS England in February 2023.
1. Introduction – Using Data to Improve Services
NHS Digital collect a range of data covering many aspects of adult health and social care. This includes data submitted by NHS trusts, local authorities, and providers. Reports published by NHS Digital can be used to look at trends in adult social care and safeguarding adults activity at the national, regional and local level.
However, to measure the effectiveness of safeguarding adults practice locally, the Safeguarding Adults Board will also need to collect and analyse its own data. The Safeguarding Adult Board (SAB) is required under the Care Act 2014 to be able to share strategic information to improve local safeguarding practice.
Information which could be useful locally includes:
- data on safeguarding notifications to increase the SAB’s understanding of how widespread abuse and neglect is and how this may change over time;
- evidence of community awareness of adult abuse and neglect and how to respond.
The SAB annual report will also provide a summary of safeguarding adults activity in the local area and outline how it is meeting the aims of its business plan / strategic plan.
2. Safeguarding Adults Collection
Each year NHS Digital publishes the findings from data collected from local authorities under the Safeguarding Adults Collection (SAC).
The reports published provide details of safeguarding activity relating to adults aged 18 and over in England.
Data collected covers the following:
- number of safeguarding concerns;
- number of section 42 enquiries;
- types of risk;
- risk assessment and outcomes;
- making safeguarding personal;
- safeguarding adult reviews.
This data can be used by safeguarding adult partners to:
- understand trends in safeguarding concerns raised and enquiries conducted;
- analyse the profile of people involved in safeguarding enquiries, and the nature of the risk of abuse or neglect involved;
- supplement local data collected in relation to safeguarding practice and outcomes.
3. Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
NHS England also collects a statutory annual return for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) activity.
Data collected from local authorities covers the following:
- the number of DoLS application requests made;
- the number of authorisation requests granted;
- the number of authorisation requests not granted;
- time taken to process DoLS applications.