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New figures showing safeguarding of vulnerable adults in 2020-21 are published

The latest statistics on safeguarding concerns reported to local authorities in England have been published today by NHS Digital.

The latest statistics on safeguarding concerns reported to local authorities in England have been published today by NHS Digital.

Safeguarding Adults, England, 2020-211 provides details of safeguarding activity carried out by local authorities2 and relating to vulnerable adults with care and support needs.

This experimental statistics3 publication includes information on:

  •            The number of safeguarding concerns4 raised
  •            The number of safeguarding enquiries started
  •            How many safeguarding enquiries were completed throughout the year under Section 42 of the Care Act 20145

Enquiries are broken down by the type and location of risk.

The report also provides demographic information about individuals who were the subject of a Section 42 enquiry that started within the year, as well as the outcomes of completed enquiries where a safeguarding risk was identified.

The Safeguarding Adults data collection only includes cases of suspected abuse where a local authority safeguarding service has been notified and has entered details onto their system. It does not include cases where partner agencies have dealt with the allegation and not shared the information with the local authority. It is likely that there are cases of suspected abuse that have not been reported to local authorities. 

Further analysis of the Safeguarding Adults data is available at local, regional and national levels through the online Adult Social Care Analytical Hub data dashboard.

These statistics cover from April 2020 to March 2021, although some data for April to September 2020 was previously published in the one-off Mid-Year 2020-21 Adult Social Care Activity report in December 2020. This publication was designed to give an early indication of the impact on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on safeguarding activity.


Read the full report

Safeguarding Adults, England, 2020-21


Notes for editors

  1. Safeguarding Adults became a statutory duty under the Care Act 2014. Due to changes in terminology and definitions within the Safeguarding Adults Collection, care must be taken when comparing data in this report to those published in the Safeguarding Adults Report in 2013-14 and 2014-15. England-level statistics for 2020-21 have been estimated as one local authority was unable to provide data.

  2. Where the local authorities are councils with adult social services responsibility (CASSRs).

  3. Experimental Statistics are official statistics which are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build in quality at an early stage. Details of any limitations around this data are provided in the report.

  4. A safeguarding concern is where a council is notified about a risk of abuse, which instigates an investigation under the local safeguarding procedures. The initial investigation may then develop into a formal investigation, known as an enquiry. Enquiries categorised as opened during the reporting year may not necessarily have concluded during the reporting year.

  5. Details of Section 42 of the Care Act 2014 can be found here:   

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Last edited: 16 September 2021 11:58 am