Safeguarding adults is a priority in adult social care, and training is one of the main ways in which policy and guidance around it is implemented. Training transfer refers to the use of new learning on the job, and while the transfer literature is well developed, it does not extend to safeguarding adults training. This research aimed to identify, develop and refine a programme theory of safeguarding adults training transfer by identifying factors that facilitate or inhibit the use of safeguarding adults training in practice, and the impact that the training has. A cross sectional mixed methods realist synthesis approach was used to evaluate two safeguarding adults training programmes provided in Cornwall, UK between 2009 and 2011. Realist synthesis aims to uncover what works, for whom, in which circumstances and how, and develops policy makers’ programme theories of interventions using evidence. A systematic review of training transfer generally, and then of health and social care transfer specifically led to a revision of the policy makers’ programme theory of training. Empirical research in the form of a factorial survey and narrative analysis of qualitative interviews was then undertaken, to further revise the programme theory to be specific to safeguarding adults training. Findings emphasise the importance of considering the effect of the training culture and transfer climate on safeguarding adults training effectiveness. Factors such as opportunity to use learning and supervisor support are important to transfer and the conflict between adult learning principles and mandatory training was explored. Safeguarding adults-specific supports were also highlighted, emphasising the importance of supporting practice using mechanisms other than training. Recommendations are provided regarding how the safeguarding related transfer climate can be improved. Limitations of the study include a high likelihood of sampling bias. The limitations of individual methods and problem of generalising findings obtained from a case study of Cornwall were reduced using the realist synthesis approach.

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