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Making any difference? Conceptualising the impact of safeguarding adults boards

Michael Preston-Shoot (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 10 December 2019

Issue publication date: 22 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Criticisms of the effectiveness of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) led to legislative reform in the shape of the Children and Social Work Act 2017. Given parallels between the mandates for LSCBs and Safeguarding Adults Boards (SABs), the onus is on SABs to demonstrate their effectiveness. The purpose of this paper is to explore how SABs might more effectively demonstrate their impact across the range of their mandated responsibilities.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on definitions of impact from social work education, healthcare and from university research, exploring their relevance for capturing different types of data regarding the outcomes and impact of SAB activity. The paper also draws on frameworks for the process of capturing data and for implementing strategies designed to change practice and develop adult safeguarding services.

Findings

The paper argues that SABs have struggled to identify their impact and need to consider what types of impact they are seeking to demonstrate before choosing methods of seeking to capture that information. The paper also argues that SABs may have given insufficient thought to the process of change management, to the components needed to ensure that desired outcomes are embedded in procedural and practice change.

Research limitations/implications

This paper explores the challenges for SABs of identifying their impact and offers some theoretical frameworks that have defined different types of impact. The paper also draws on frameworks that identify the different components that are necessary for achieving change. This paper offers a contribution to theory building and is a response to the challenge of demonstrating the value that SABs add to adult safeguarding policy and practice.

Practical implications

A case study reviews the findings of the longitudinal service development and practice change initiative to embed making safeguarding personal in adult safeguarding. The findings of that initiative are mapped against the frameworks for identifying impact. Experience of implementing the initiative is mapped against the frameworks for effective implementation of change.

Originality/value

The paper presents frameworks for identifying the different types of outcomes and impact that SABs may achieve through their strategic business plans and for ensuring that the different components are present for the successful implementation and maintenance of change. The paper argues that the legal, policy and financial context within which SABs are located presents challenges as well as opportunities with respect to achieving and demonstrating impactful change. However, it also suggests that a more informed understanding of different types of impact may generate different approaches to data collection in order to capture what has been achieved.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to Christine Cocker for introducing the author to Normalisation Process Theory and to Adi Cooper for commenting on a draft of this paper.

Citation

Preston-Shoot, M. (2020), "Making any difference? Conceptualising the impact of safeguarding adults boards", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 21-34. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-08-2019-0025

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited