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Developing an adult safeguarding outcome measure in England

Caroline Norrie (Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.)
Cher Cartwright (Adult Social Care Statistics, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), Leeds, United Kingdom.)
Pritpal Rayat (Adult Social Care Statistics, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), Leeds, United Kingdom.)
Michelle Grey (Questionnaire Design and Testing Hub, NatCen Social Research, London, United Kingdom.)
Jill Manthorpe (Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London, London, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 12 October 2015




There are currently no national adult safeguarding outcome measures that focus on people who have been through an adult safeguarding investigation in England. There is a need for local authorities (LAs) and their partners to be able to measure whether the services provided to adults at risk of abuse and neglect are effective. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


This paper describes the cognitive testing phase of a study to develop and implement a standardised adult at risk outcome measure in adult safeguarding for use by LAs in England. An outcome measure (a set of seven survey questions administered in a face to face interview) was cognitively tested in three LAs with adults at risk (or their carers/advocates) for whom an investigation of abuse had been concluded (n=40), with the aim of assessing whether it was commonly understood. A set of guidance notes was designed and LA staff (n=12) who assisted with the survey were interviewed about its usability and the feasibility of administering the survey.


The survey questions required modifications to improve their reliability, validity and comparability. LA staff also suggested improvements were needed in the guidance document and survey. LA managers, adults at risk (and their relatives/carers/advocates) were willing to be involved in the survey and it was considered feasible to proceed with piloting the measure.


The development of this unique survey is of interest to those working in adult safeguarding, user involvement, survey management and outcome measurement in LAs.



Declaration of conflicting interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

This paper presents independent research funded by the Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Health. The authors are immensely grateful to all the participants who helped them with this study and the local authority staff who facilitated the interviews. The authors also acknowledge the data collection and analysis work of NatCen staff, Sophie Green (NatCen Researcher), Valdeep Gill (NatCen Researcher) and Karen Joyce (freelance NatCen interviewer).


Norrie, C., Cartwright, C., Rayat, P., Grey, M. and Manthorpe, J. (2015), "Developing an adult safeguarding outcome measure in England", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 17 No. 5, pp. 275-286.



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