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Publication, Part of

Safeguarding Adults, England, 2020-21

Official statistics

Current Chapter

Safeguarding Adults, England, 2020-21


This publication provides the findings from the Safeguarding Adults Collection (SAC) for the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. Safeguarding Adults is a statutory duty for Councils with Adult Social Services Responsibilities in England under the Care Act 2014, in order to safeguard vulnerable adults from abuse or neglect. The data is collected directly from these councils, also known as ‘local authorities’ in this publication. The aim of this publication is to inform users about aspects of safeguarding activity at national, regional and local level. It is labelled as Experimental Statistics as, due to local variation in how safeguarding activity is defined and reported, there are limitations in the interpretation and usage of the data. The Adult Social Care Analytical Hub, which is an interactive business intelligence tool published alongside the data tables, presents further insight of the data, including breakdowns by local authority.

The England-level statistics for 2020-21 have been estimated as one local authority was not able to submit data.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 made easements to the Care Act 2014; however Safeguarding duties were not affected by the Care Act Easements.

Adult Social Care Analytical Hub

This tool is in Microsoft Power BI which does not fully support all accessibility needs.  If you need further assistance, please contact us for help.

Safeguarding concerns

There were an estimated 498,260 concerns of abuse raised during 2020-21, an increase of 5% on the previous year.

Section 42 enquiries

The number of enquiries that commenced under Section 42 of the Care Act 2014 during the year decreased by 6% to an estimated 152,270 and involved almost 123,000 individuals.

Other safeguarding enquiries

The number of Other safeguarding enquiries, where there may not be reasonable cause to suspect the statutory Section 42 criteria are met but where local authorities use other powers to make enquiries, increased by 7% to an estimated 16,690 during the same period.

Type and location of risk

The most common type of risk in Section 42 enquiries that concluded in the year was Neglect and Acts of Omission, which accounted for 30% of risks, and the most common location of the risk was the person’s own home at 50%.


In 89% of concluded Section 42 enquiries where a risk was identified, the reported outcome was that the risk was reduced or removed.

Last edited: 10 January 2022 4:38 pm