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Section 11 Audit

The BSCB assesses the effectiveness of local safeguarding arrangements in various ways, including Section 11 safeguarding self-assessments.

This is where all local agencies and organisations that provide services to children and young people are asked to self-assess.

They assess the extent to which they meet the safeguarding requirements and standards as set out in Section 11 of the Children Act 2004.

Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships (LSCB’s) have a Statutory Duty to assess whether agencies in their area are fulfilling their statutory obligation to safeguard and promote the welfare of children as described in ‘Section 11 of the Children Act 2004’.

The Section 11 places duties on a range of organisations and individuals to ensure their functions, and any services that they contract out to others, are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Every two years, the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) undertakes a Section 11 Audit to monitor and evaluate the compliance of Board partners with their statutory obligations under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004.

Working Together 2015 sets out that Local Safeguarding Children Board’s must monitor and evaluate what is done by the Local Authority and board partners individually and collectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and advise them on ways to improve. This places a duty on key persons and bodies to make arrangements to ensure that in discharging their functions.

Although we formally ask our partners to submit an audit every two years, the Section 11 audit tool sits alongside self-assessment surveys that provide individual agencies with their own assurance that they are meeting statutory duties, therefore encouraging agencies to consider maintaining their Section 11 on an ongoing basis.

All Board partners are invited to complete their Section 11 audit via our online audit system.

A Wider Number of Agencies

Whilst the BSCB requests a Section 11 audit return from all member agencies, we recognise that there are a wider number of agencies working with children and young people in Buckinghamshire. This includes a range of commissioned services, voluntary, community and faith sector organisations.

It is important that robust safeguarding arrangements are in place within all of these settings.

Although these organisations are not always bound by the same legal framework as statutory organisations, they are still expected to have arrangements in place that reflect the importance of safeguarding children, young people and adults with care and support needs.

Where such organisations are commissioned by statutory agencies to provide services on their behalf, contract monitoring arrangements must consider whether robust safeguarding arrangements are in place. This tool can also be used by commissioners as part of these arrangements.

The key features for all LCSB’s

The BSCP in 2020 formally adapted and developed the Section 11 Audit Tool and Guidance based on Partnership priorities, however at an organisational and/or strategic level, the key features for all LCSB’s are:

  • Senior management commitment to the importance of safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare
  • A clear statement of the agency’s responsibilities towards children is available for all staff
  • A clear line of accountability within the organisation for work on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
  • Service development takes account of the need to safeguard and promote welfare and is informed, where appropriate, by the views of children and families
  • Staff training on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children for all staff working with or, depending on the agency’s primary functions, in contact with children and families
  • Safer recruitment
  • Effective inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
  • Information sharing

Working Together 2018 identifies that the Section 11 applies to the following agencies and organisations:

  • Local authorities and district councils that 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, including the NHS Commissioning Partnership and Clinical Commissioning groups, NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts
  • The 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
  • The Probation Service – (now the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Company)
  • Governors/Directors of Prisons and Young Offender Institutions
  • Directors of Secure Training Centres
  • Youth Offending Teams/Services
  • Private and voluntary organisations who are commissioned or contracted to provide services on behalf of the bodies listed above