Why is a Section 11 audit required?

As identified above, 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.

The Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership (CSAP) is required to monitor the effectiveness of such arrangements via a range of processes, a key component of which is the Section 11 Audit. It seeks to ensure that when organisations go about their day-to-day business, they do so in a way that considers the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

As part of a co-ordinated approach, the Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership will be conducting the Section 11 audit process.  This comprehensive audit captures important data and enables agencies to continue good practice and a mechanism for understanding how we can support partner agencies in further developing any specific aspects of safeguarding arrangements. The audit is an opportunity for each agency to demonstrate compliance with statutory guidance.

Who has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare under Section 11?

Chapter 2 of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 sets out those organisations which Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a duty upon, namely:

  • Local Authorities and District Councils which provide children’s and other types of services (including children’s and adult social care services, public health, housing, sport, culture and leisure services, licensing authorities and youth services)
  • NHS organisations and agencies and the independent sector (including NHS England and clinical commissioning groups, NHS Trusts, NHS Foundation Trusts and General Practitioners)
  • Police (including Police and Crime Commissioners and the Chief officer of each Police force in England and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in London)
  • British Transport Police
  • National Probation Service
  • Governors/Directors of Prisons and Young Offender Institutions (YOIs)
  • Directors of Secure Training Centres (STCs)
  • Principals of Secure Colleges
  • Youth Offending Teams/Services (YOTs)

How will completing the Section 11 benefit your organisation?

A completed Section 11 provides evidence for relevant national inspection organisations (e.g. Ofsted/CQC/HMIC) and importantly;

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; Inter-agency 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.

To support colleagues in completing the Section 11 audit, the following toolkit of resources and information has been developed (Note: At the end of this section, you will find links to all the Toolkit Guidance Documents highlighted below plus a dedicated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section).

Key Themes:

As illustrated opposite, the Section 11 audit covers 10 x Key Themes covering a variety of aspects.  Within each Key Theme, there are a number of Questions on standards that the organisation should meet.  At the end of each Key Theme, a self-assessed RAG Grading should be assigned using the traffic light system of Red, Amber or Green as illustrated below.


The questions and statements contained within each Key Theme focus on different aspects of provision with answers assigned on a simple Yes / No / Not-applicable** basis.
**See important notes below on questions deemed ‘Not Applicable’.

Saving your progress:

We fully appreciate that it may not be possible to complete your self-assessment in one sitting and therefore, the online tool provides the facility to save your current progress and continue at a later point.  This option is provided at the end of each Key Theme page via the ‘Save and Continue Later‘ button which will ask you to enter your name and e-mail address (see illustration below).

When you use this option, an automated e-mail titled ‘CSAP Section 11 Self-Assessment Progression’ will be generated and sent to the e-mail address you provided.  This e-mail contains a custom link to your saved progress, allowing you to continue your self-assessment.
Tip: If you cannot see the above e-mail in your Inbox, check your system’s Junk E-mail folder.

Each Theme should be self-assessed and assigned a Red-Amber-Green (RAG) rating.  Your self-assessment should reflect how well you believe your organisation meets the over-arching Theme (at the time of completing the audit) based on the answers you have given to the preceding questions.

In your self-assessment, you should select the most appropriate RAG rating for your organisation and include comments to evidence why this rating has been chosen. It is important that the comments you provide are detailed enough to enable any follow up work to be easily identified.



Graphic representing Theme Comments exampleImportant Note:   ALL questions should be answered prior to submission.  Should an audit be submitted without all questions answered, the associated Theme will be allocated a default RED rating.

As referenced above, should a question not be applicable to the work of your organisation, you should select the N/A option and explain the reasoning why this is not applicable in the Comments Box provided at the bottom of the page (see illustration).


Unless otherwise indicated, the self-assessment grading for each individual Theme is based upon 3 possible options, namely: Not Compliant, Partially Compliant and Fully Compliant.  To complete your self-assessment, consider your answers to each Theme and assign a self-assessed grade that you believe most accurately reflects how your organisation’s arrangements comply with the grade description at the time of completing the audit.

When assessing your current arrangements, consider what evidence you have that would support how you have arrived at your assessment.  To support you in assigning the most appropriate grading, a reference sheet containing a description of each self-assessed grading level along with suggested examples is provided opposite.

Useful Tip: This reference sheet is also available as a standalone document via the Toolkit Guidance documents below which may be useful to have available as you work through your submission.

If you are satisfied you have completed all the required information and assigned the approriate RAG ratings to each section, you should select the Submit Audit option.  This will ensure a copy of your completed self-assessment is sent to the CSAP Assurance, Scrutiny & Impact Team who will then monitor compliance and identify any support you may require to ensure your organisation is fully compliant.



Advisory Note:   Please be aware that once your completed self-assessment has been submitted, it is no longer possible to make further changes.



Obtaining a copy of your responses:

Once you have submitted your Section 11 responses as detailed above, a final page will be displayed thanking you for completing your Self-Assessment.

Importantly, this page also provides the option to download a copy of your submitted responses.  This option is highly recommended as it provides the opportunity to use your Section 11 responses when developing subsequent action planning activity.

Accessing the Online Self-Assessment Tool

For 2022, the online audit tool for the Section 11 self-assessment will be open and available for completion as follows:

Section 11 Schedule [Updated**]

Opens: 08:00 on Monday 28th February 2022

Closes: 17:00 on Friday 13th May 2022 [**New deadline]

The online self-assessment tool can be accessed via the following link:


Important Note: If you have previously started to complete your organisation’s self-assessment and elected to ‘Save and Continue Later‘, access to your saved self-assessment is through the dedicated link provided in your ‘CSAP Section 11 Self-Assessment Progression‘ e-mail rather than via the main link above.

Useful Tip:  Whilst the self-assessment MUST be completed using the online tool, you may find it helpful to have a complete question list reference available.  To support you with this, a standalone reference sheet has been developed which contains a complete list of all Key Themes and Questions used in the self-assessment – the Section 11 Question List Reference Sheet can be downloaded from the Toolkit Guidance documents below.

In completing the self-assessment, you may identify areas that require further development in order to achieve the expected standard required (Green).  As referenced above, each Key Theme includes a Comments section where you may wish to include notes, observations or developments to support you with this.

The format of Action Plans should be determined to suit local circumstance.  However, to support colleagues with this aspect, an example Action Plan template has been developed and is available from the Toolkit Guidance documents below.

The Action Plan template is aligned to the self-assessment Themes and is intended to provide colleagues with the opportunity to identify actions, lead persons, target dates and success criteria for each applicable statement.


FAQ #1: Can I save my progress when completing my Section 11 self-assessment so I can return to it later?

Yes – we understand that completing your self-assessment is unlikely to be done in a single session and information may be required from different sources.  Your progress can be saved at any time after completing the initial page and returned to by using the ‘Save and Continue Later‘ button provided at the bottom of each page.

When you select Save and Continue Later, you will be prompted for a Name and E-Mail address to which a link will be sent to continue your submission.

FAQ #2: What is the deadline for completing and submitting the self-audit?

We fully appreciate that the completion of the Section 11 self-assessment can be a significant undertaking which may involve various members of your organisation.  In order to provide sufficient time for the collation of required information, the online self-assessment will be available as follows:

Self-assessment Opens:  Monday 28th February 2022 (08:00)

Self-assessment Closes: Friday 30th April 2022 (17:00)

FAQ #3: How can I obtain a copy of my completed self-assessment responses?

IMPORTANT: Once you have submitted your completed self-assessment, you will be presented with a final Thank You page.  This page provides you with the opportunity to print/save your completed responses which can be used for local action planning purposes and to evidence future progression.

PLEASE NOTE:  Once you exit this page, your completed responses will no longer be available to you.  It is therefore ESSENTIAL that if you require a copy of your completed responses, it MUST be done from this page.

FAQ #4: What happens to the information we provide?

All completed responses are collated by the Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership and combined to provide an overarching summary assessment across the Pan-Lancashire region.  These results are provided to the respective Local Authorities so there is a locality view of safeguarding provision for the respective area.

There will be a follow up review/challenge process which will be communicated to organisations in due course.

FAQ #5: What should I do if some of the questions are not applicable to my organisation?

ALL questions should be answered prior to submission.  If an audit has been submitted without all questions answered, those unanswered questions will be allocated a default RED rating.

Should a question not be applicable to the work of your organisation, you should select a GREEN rating in the Comments Box provided and explain the reasoning why this is not applicable.

FAQ #6: My organisation is not mandated under Section 11. Can we still complete a self-assessment?

Yes – organisations and agencies that are not mandated within ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ but would still like to reflect on improving safeguarding procedures and enhance practice can use the Section 11 self-assessment.  We welcome your submissions and will endeavour to assist in making arrangements to ensure that organisational functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

FAQ #7: Does any evidence need to be submitted as part of the self-assessment?

Unless otherwise indicated, there is a no requirement to submit evidence as part of the self-assessment.  Whilst the online audit tool does allow the facility to submit files, the expectation is that organisations ensure that they can provide additional supporting information should this be requested when the submission is being evaluated and quality assured later in the year.

Section 11 Contact Form

If you have a question or would like further information about the Section 11 self-assessment that is not included in the FAQs above or contained within the above guidance, please use the Contact Form below and we will respond to your query at the earliest opportunity.

Section 11 enquiries