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NSAB Training guidance

Our training guidance outlines a framework for the delivery of single and multi agency learning and development as well as evaluating the quality and effectiveness of that training.

Don't forget to look at our main training overview information here too.

Also available is a PDF version of the multi-agency learning and development guidance below.

Learning and Development Multi-agency Guidance

April 2023


1. Purpose and aim
2. Values
3. What safeguarding adults training do you need?
4. What learning is available?
5. Expectations
6. How to evidence your learning
7. Quality assurance and evaluation
Appendix 1 Table showing Bournemouth competencies with staff group examples
Appendix 2 Examples of different types of learning
Appendix 3 Principles in law

1. Purpose and aim 

1.1      Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board (NSAB) has a responsibility to ensure that those working with adults at risk from harm (as defined in the Care Act 2014) are competent to carry out their roles.

1.2      This means enabling those adults to live their lives free from harm and exploitation wherever possible, but where safeguarding concerns do arise, providing an effective, personalised safeguarding service which involves them at all stages in the process, helping them to achieve the outcomes they wish for themselves.

1.3      NSAB recognises the importance of workers and volunteers that are competent in safeguarding adults. This means people are effectively trained, skilled, supported and developed throughout their career so that they can deliver safe, quality services (to prevent abuse and harm) and respond effectively and with confidence to any allegations of abuse.

1.4      A key objective in the NSAB Strategic Plan 2023-26 is to “support greater sharing of knowledge, expertise and learning from experience, so that all those working and volunteering in our communities with adults at risk are knowledgeable and confident in their safeguarding adult roles and responsibilities.”

1.5      Safeguarding training and other forms of learning, specific to a person’s role, is a key part of developing and maintaining that competency.

1.6      The aim of this guidance is to outline a framework for the delivery of single and multi-agency learning and development, as well evaluating the quality and effectiveness of that training.

1.7      NSAB uses the National Competency Framework for Safeguarding Adults (known as the ‘Bournemouth Competencies’) as the basis for a consistent approach to safeguarding adults learning and development – these are set out in Appendix 1.

2.  Values

2.1      NSAB expects that all safeguarding adults learning and development across our partnership will:

  • Promote the meaningful involvement of adults at risk and their families in the safeguarding process - recognising that the Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP) approach is an integral part of all safeguarding adults learning and development activity
  • Respect the choices and promote the autonomy of adults at risk, focussing on the outcomes they wish to achieve for themselves (where this does not impact the safety of others)
  • Value multi-agency approaches and working in partnership with others (recognising and valuing different roles, knowledge, and skills)
  • Respect, promote and embed equality and diversity issues
  • Acknowledge the public interest

3.  What safeguarding adults training do you need?

3.1      NSAB expects that all staff and volunteers in organisations working with, or meeting with, adults at risk are provided with suitable learning opportunities, appropriate to their role.

3.2      The ‘Bournemouth Competencies’ provide guidance about the level of knowledge and skill staff and volunteers need to effectively fulfil their safeguarding role. NCC and NSAB reference the levels of training outlined in that document in this strategy and in the design of the safeguarding adults training programme.

3.3      Formal training sessions are only one part of the learning opportunities that may be available. Developing skills and maintaining good practice, especially for more experienced colleagues, can be supported by a range of different activities, relevant to the sector / group / individual. Appendix 2 gives examples of these.

3.4      The Bournemouth competency guidance sets out a number of ‘building block’ stages for safeguarding adult training and explains the staff groups which need to meet those increasing levels of competency. 

3.5      There are two versions of the guidance, a comprehensive guide and a concise version for employers and staff. These can be found via our website here: Training and development | Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board. There is a much simplified version in Appendix 1 also.

3.6      In the comprehensive guide, Level 1 sets out a basic competency where workers can recognise and alert others to concerns about abuse or harm – this would apply to all staff and volunteers who work with / come into contact with / are responsible for adults at risk.

3.7      Level 2 applies to staff who have professional and organisational responsibility for safeguarding adults, so the level of knowledge and skill required is higher, for example social workers, nurses, managers.

3.8      Level 3 describes those with responsibility for managing and delivering safeguarding services.

3.9      Level 4 refers to those roles which ensure the organisation is committed to safeguarding and ensures there are appropriate systems and resources in place to support inter agency work.

3.10      All levels would be expected to have basic awareness training, but above that, any learning and development needs to help the individual demonstrate their competence to each level. For example, a strategic manager at Level 3 might lead the safeguarding group in their organisation, or hold responsibility for reviewing safeguarding policies, so their competence could be assessed through an annual performance review reflecting on how well those activities have been carried out.


4.  What learning is available?

4.1      St Thomas Training - NSAB works closely with one of its key statutory partners, Norfolk County Council (NCC), who have a programme of safeguarding training provided by St Thomas Training for NCC staff and aim to facilitate access to a number of those courses to staff and volunteers outside NCC, at a reasonable and subsidised cost.

4.2      Learning together in a multi-agency group provides opportunities to develop a shared understanding of safeguarding adults and promotes positive working together.

4.3      The following courses are open to statutory partners and the independent, private, and voluntary sector for a reasonable cost. They are free to unpaid volunteers. 

  • Safeguarding Adults Awareness (standard awareness course)
  • Developing Safeguarding Practice (a refresher for people who have already done the awareness course)
  • Learning From Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs) (good for developing safeguarding adults practice)
  • Safeguarding Adults from Exploitation
  • Self-neglect – Beyond the basics to effective interventions
  • Safeguarding Adults: Domestic abuse, coercion and control
  • Safeguarding knowhow for provider managers (a bespoke course for Norfolk’s care provider managers) 

4.4      If an organisation books two places on a course they can also book a third space for free.  The organisation does not need to book all three delegates on a course on the same day. Applicants will pay for the training place(s) when booking onto the course. Available training | Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board

4.5      Train the Trainer – this is the only course that NSAB commissions directly and is designed to support partners to provide their own in-house basic awareness training. The one day course also include a full set of training materials to use in their own workplace and access to a yearly refresher session. This training is also accessed via the link above.

4.6      In line with our Strategic Plan, NSAB also offer additional guidance and learning opportunities where particular needs and themes are identified in the strategic partnership (which includes issues raised within our Locality Safeguarding Adult Partnerships). NSAB also disseminates lessons learned from practice, local audits, Safeguarding Adults Reviews and similar, to help embed change.

4.7      This specifically supports the Prevention workstream and also Learning Lessons & Shaping Future Practice (to produce / share relevant insights and guidance across our multi-agency partnership).

4.8      Methods used include:

  • Learning events (online or face to face)
  • Updates via NSAB / partners
  • Updates via NSAB / partner newsletters and website, social media channels, Locality Safeguarding Adult Partnerships (LSAPs)
  • Creating guidance and briefings detailing recommendations and messages for practice

4.9      NSAB will also promote and share information on other local, regional, and national learning events to ensure that people supporting others in Norfolk have access to a wide range of learning opportunities to aid best practice.

4.10   NSAB recommends that partner organisations put into action learning from incidents and complaints within their own service (developing a positive cycle of learning). This includes incorporating relevant material into training as necessary.

4.11   NSAB recognises that organisations will also directly source e-learning and other training in line with the needs of their workforce – Appendix 1 can support mapping of the required competencies across different types / forms of training and staff roles.


5.  Expectations of safeguarding adults training and learning

5.1      NSAB expects that organisations in Norfolk will:

  • Follow this guidance and ensure the principles of the Care Act 2014 and Mental Capacity Act 2005 are embedded within their learning and development (Appendix 3)
  • Make it clear to their managers and staff what training & development is required, including which courses / learning opportunities are mandatory
  • Allow / enable staff to have the time required to meet the competency level for their role
  • Record learner engagement and monitor take up in these opportunities, including informal and self-directed learning where possible
  • Have a system so it can be easily identified when staff need to update and or refresh their training. 

5.2      Organisations may wish to provide a certificate of course completion at the end of training events; such certificates should only be awarded to delegates who attend the entire event. Alternatively, delegates could be asked to complete and evidence of learning form.
5.3      Regulated services will also have specific requirements to meet, e.g. from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This guidance runs in parallel to any other regulatory expectation.

5.4      NSAB expects a positive learning environment for any safeguarding training. Delegates attending any training or learning events commissioned or delivered by either NCC or NSAB can expect:

  • To be treated in a professional and respectful manner
  • For the session to be facilitated by knowledgeable and experienced trainers
  • That the session will start and finish at the times specified
  • That any concerns regarding the trainers or the training content or methods will be followed up and feedback given

5.5      In return, delegates are expected to:

  • Commit to the event / course, understanding the disruption to the entire course / group of late arrivals and early departures
  • Actively participate in the discussions and exercises, especially where the session is online
  • Conduct themselves in a positive and professional manner

5.6      The trainer will respect confidentiality if personal information is shared in a training session. If a participant demonstrates inappropriate behaviour or if there is evidence of professional attitudes or behaviour that is in breach of agency policies or which may put a service user at risk of harm, then the trainer will discuss this with the participant and inform the relevant person in the delegate’s organisation.

5.7      Delegates are encouraged to take responsibility for applying their learning to practice by:

  • Thinking about what you have learnt and what else you might need to learn
  • Planning how you will use what you have learned in your day to day practice
  • Reviewing the learning with your line manager in supervision or similar (e.g. annual performance review) 

5.8      Learning should be informed by evidence and research, including at local and national level through safeguarding adult reviews.

6.  How to evidence your learning

6.1      In relation to evidencing attendance, formal teaching / training sessions are usually logged and monitored at an organisation level, but other learning opportunities may need a more individualised approach to evidence competency against the Bournemouth levels.

6.2      Staff who maintain professional qualifications are required to evidence continued professional development in learning logs or submitting examples to their regulatory bodies, so evidence like this can also cover work towards safeguarding competency.

6.3      The key aim of learning is to change and develop practice, so this needs more qualitative appraisal, the approach favoured by using a competency system.

6.4      Ways of evidencing how individuals have applied their learning to their practice, particularly where competency above level 1 is required, could include:

  • Line manager discussion in one to one sessions
  • Annual appraisal / performance reviews
  • Peer supervision sessions
  • Reflective discussions

7.   Quality assurance and evaluation

7.1      NCC and NSAB have a responsibility to ensure the training commissioned and delivered through them is of high quality and effective in achieving the set learning objectives.

7.2      NCC and NSAB will ensure that those commissioned providers submit once a term evaluation report detailing attendance rates, evaluation of the trainer and a summary of how far the training provided has met the aims and learning outcomes.

7.3      NSAB will support NCC as required with evaluation and review of safeguarding adults training.

7.4      There is an expectation that organisations will monitor the impact of training on practice, developing their own quality assurance processes and link them to their safeguarding adults training.

7.5      NSAB will assist organisations to understand the levels of training / learning required to meet the Bournemouth competencies.

7.6      NSAB will ask for feedback on specific learning / information events they deliver to ensure that the content is relevant and accessible to our multi-agency partnership.

 Appendix 1 The National Capability Framework for Safeguarding Adults (Bournemouth Competencies)

Level One – Group A Level Two – Group B Level Three – Group C Level Four – Group D
This group has a responsibility to recognise and refer concerns but do not have statutory authority to intervene This group has considerable professional and organisational responsibility for safeguarding adults. They act on concerns and contribute to safeguarding procedures and work in a multi-agency context This group manage and deliver safeguarding services, will oversee policies and procedures in their organisation and build working partnerships with other agencies. This group ensures the organisation is committed to safeguarding and ensures there are appropriate systems and resources in place to support inter agency work
Examples of workers in this level      

Drivers/ transport staff

Day Service Staff

All support staff in health and social care settings

Domestic and ancillary staff


Transport Staff

HR staff

Elected Members

Health and Safety Officers

Elected Members

Charity Trustees

Social Workers


Frontline managers

Health and Social Care Provider Service Managers

ABE Trained Investigating Officers

Strategic Managers

Operational Managers

Care Managers

Service Managers

Heads of Support Services

Heads of Provider Services

Heads of Assessment and Care Management Services

Competencies required      

Understand what safeguarding is and their role

Recognise concerns and act and alert 

Know about procedures and policies

Understand dignity and respect

Skills and knowledge to effectively contribute to safeguarding processes

Awareness of local and national policies and procedures

Support and ensure the participation of service users to understand safeguarding and maximise their decision making

Understand how best evidence is achieved

Understand when to use emergency systems to safeguard adults

Maintain accurate complete up to date records

Demonstrate required level of skills and knowledge to undertake a safeguarding investigation

Actively engage in supporting a positive multi-agency approach to safeguarding adults

Support the development of robust internal systems to provide consistent, high quality Safeguarding Adults Service

Chair Safeguarding Adults meetings or discussions

Ensure record systems are robust and fit for purpose

Lead the development of effective policy and procedures for Safeguarding Adult services in your organisation

Ensure plans and targets for Safeguarding Adults at a strategic level across your organisation

Promote awareness of Safeguarding Adults systems within your organisation and outside of your organisation

Develop and maintain systems to ensure the involvement of those who use your services in the evaluation and development of your Safeguarding Adults services

Appendix 2 Examples of different types of learning

Work Based Learning Professional Activities Formal / Educational Self-directed Other

Learning by doing

Reflective practice

Coaching from others

Peer Review


Supervising / supporting staff or students

Significant analysis of events, including reviewing incidents, looking at safeguarding data

Filling in self-assessment questionnaires

Involvement in the wider profession related work of your employer (e.g. being on a committee or in a group)

Involvement in a professional body, specialist interest group or other groups

Giving presentations at conferences

Organising accredited courses

Supervising research or students


Being a Champion in your service

Maintaining or developing specialist skills

Going on courses

Doing or participating in research

Writing articles or papers

Distance or online learning

Further education

Attending conferences and events

Going to seminars / webinars

Planning or running a course

Reading journals, articles, SARs & DHRs

Keeping a file of your progress

Reviewing books or articles

Updating your knowledge through the internet or TV (e.g. NSAB website, documentaries)

Relevant public service or voluntary work


Appendix 3a Principles in law: the Care Act 2014

Empowerment – Presumption of person led decisions and informed consent “I am asked what I want as the outcomes from the safeguarding process, and these directly inform what happens.”
Prevention – It is better to take action before harm occurs “I receive clear and simple information about what abuse is, how to recognise the signs and what I can do to seek help.”
Proportionality – Proportionate and least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented. “I am sure that the professionals will work in my interest, as I see them, and they will only get involved as much as needed.”
Protection – Support and representation for those in greatest need. “I get help and support to report abuse and neglect. I get help so that I am able to take part in the safeguarding process to the extent to which I want.”
Partnership – Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting, and reporting neglect and abuse. “I know that staff treat any personal and sensitive information in confidence, only sharing what is helpful and necessary. I am confident that professionals will work together and with me to get the best result for me.”
Accountability – Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding. “I understand the role of everyone involved in my life and so do they.”


Appendix 3b Principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005:

(wording from Social Care Institute of Excellence: Mental Capacity Act 2005 at a glance | SCIE)

  •  A Presumption of capacity

Every adult has the right to make his or her own decisions and must be assumed to have capacity to do so unless it is proved otherwise. This means that you cannot assume that someone cannot make a decision for themselves just because they have a particular medical condition or disability.

  • Individuals being supported to make their own decisions

 A person must be given all practicable help before anyone treats them as not being able to make their own decisions. This means you should make every effort to encourage and support people to make the decision for themselves. If lack of capacity is established, it is still important that you involve the person as far as possible in making decisions.

  • Unwise decisions

People have the right not to be treated as lacking capacity merely because they make a decision that others deem ‘unwise’. Everyone has their own values, beliefs and preferences which may not be the same as those of other people.

  • Best Interests

Anything done for or on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity must be done in their best interests.

  • Less restrictive option

Someone making a decision or acting on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must consider whether it is possible to decide or act in a way that would interfere less with the person’s rights and freedoms of action, or whether there is a need to decide or act at all. Any intervention should be weighed up in the particular circumstances of the case.