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A key component of the Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership is to be assured that services for children and families across Blackpool, Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen are safe, continually improving and are aspiring to be of the highest possible quality.

In order to achieve this, the Partnership has appointed an Independent Scrutineer and, working with the CSAP Joint Business Unit, will:

    • review the quality and performance of the services provided by its partner agencies
    • report to the CSAP Executive Group on service excellence and areas that require performance improvement

Part of this function includes the undertaking of audits in order to identify gaps and good practice in working arrangements which allows recommendations to be made to the Executive Group around improvements that need to be made.  Below you will find information regarding our main audit functions which include: Section 11; Section 175/157 and the Multi-Agency Audit programme as well as answers to a number of Frequently Asked Questions.

As our audit programme progresses, we will publish the Summary Reports of our completed audits below.

Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a duty on key people and bodies to make arrangements to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The application of this duty will vary according to the nature of each agency and its functions.

In order to seek assurance that agencies are fulfilling their duties, the Partnership conducts an annual Section 11 Audit which collects information from member agencies on Leadership; Commitment; Accountability & Governance; Service Development/Review; Training; Supervision; Safe Recruitment; Interagency Working; and Information Sharing. Agencies are required to RAG rate themselves in accordance with these areas of interest and to embed any documents which support their position.  For agencies which mark themselves as amber or red in a specific section, it is expected that they update the Partnership on how they intend to improve this rating.

UPDATE: The CSAP Section 11 Safeguarding Audit for 2022 will be open from Monday 28th February 2022 through to Friday 29th April 2022.  The Section 11 audit for 2022 will take the form of a self-assessment to be completed online and includes an associated toolkit with guidance materials and action planning templates to support colleagues with the completion.  Further details and access to the supporting toolkit and resources can be found using the Further Information… link below.

As part of the Section 11 process, we also anticipate undertaking associated challenge activities regarding completion to enable the Safeguarding Partnership to be assured of the content of the returns received.

Further information...

The requirements of the statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children [2018] place a number of duties on Local Authorities and School Governing Bodies under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002.  These include reference to the need to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.  The Working Together [2018] statement in full reads:

[Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on: a) local authorities in relation to their education functions; and b) the governing bodies of maintained schools and the governing bodies of further education institutions (which include sixth-form colleges) in relation to their functions relating to the conduct of the school or the institution to make arrangements for ensuring that such functions are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children (in the case of the school or institution, being those children who are either pupils at the school or who are students under 18 years of age attending the further education institution).

A similar duty applies to proprietors of independent schools (which include academies/free schools) by virtue of regulations made under sections 94(1) and (2) of the Education and Skills Act 2008.

Regulations made under Section 342 of the Education Act 1996, set out the requirements for a non-maintained special school to be approved and continue to be approved by the Secretary of State. It is a condition of approval and continuing approval that arrangements must be in place for safeguarding and promoting the health, safety and welfare of pupils and when making such arrangements, the proprietor of the school must have regard to any relevant guidance published by the Secretary of State.]

From 2021, the Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership will undertake the S175/S157 assurance function on behalf of Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council (for the 2021/22 academic year, settings in the Blackburn with Darwen area should refer to separate S175/157 arrangements made by the Local Authority).

Further information...

Working with the Independent Scrutineer, the Joint Business Unit is responsible for co-ordinating the audits and sets a specific topic for each (based on recommendations from the CSAP Executive Group, Ofsted Improvement Board or findings from recent Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews).  Below is a brief outline of what the Multi-Agency audit process involves:

  • 15 cases (5 from each of the locality areas – Central/East/North) are chosen for the audit based on criteria unique to the topic;
  • All agencies involved with each case are expected to complete the audit tool and are asked to rate their involvement (providing justification), using grading criteria which aligns with CQC and Ofsted Inspection practice;
  • Completed single agency audits are combined into a multi-agency document which summarises each case in its entirety;
  • Auditors meet to evaluate the cases on a multi-agency basis and identify themes emerging from the audit work carried out;
  • The final audit is compiled based on all the information collected, including single agency audit returns, case summaries and the discussions held at the auditor meetings;
  • The audit report, and summary document, is reviewed by the CSAP Executive for agreement;
  • Summary reports are shared below once agreed.

There has been positive engagement from agencies, which means the audit process is proving successful.  Agencies to have been involved include: Local Authority (CSC; WPEH; SEND); Health providers; Clinical Commissioning Groups; Education; Police; Probation; and organisations from the voluntary, community and faith sector.

FAQ #1: What are the responsibilities of the CSAP in terms of assurance and scrutiny?

CSAP has a remit to ensure that there are effective arrangements in place across partners to protect children, young people and their families

FAQ #2: What role does the Independent Scrutineer play in terms of quality assurance and scrutiny?

The Independent Scrutineer seeks to provide an independent view on the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements across the partnership arrangements.

FAQ #3: What is a Section 11?

Section 11 is a yearly (or 2 yearly) review of safeguarding practices for agencies. The audit is based on a set of key safeguarding standards as defined in Section 11 of the Children Act. The standards are designed to assist agencies to reflect upon practice, identify strengths and risks and where necessary to put an action plan in place to address any areas of weakness

FAQ #4: What is a Section 175 / Section 157?

A Section 175 is a self-assessment audit tool. It is intended to provide schools with the opportunity to self-evaluate their safeguarding arrangements. A Section 157 is a similar tool and is intended for completion by Independent educational settings and Multi Academy Trusts. It is anticipated that both self-evaluation tools will be online submissions

FAQ #5: What audit activity is undertaken by CSAP?

CSAP’s audit schedule is currently being developed. Further details will be added once the audit schedule has been finalised and ratified by the Executive Board. Audit activity and assurance regarding specific issues or areas of business are routinely provided via the Operational Groups and Tactical Groups.