Quality Assurance & Performance Improvement – information for partners

Multi-agency quality assurance and performance improvement activities are key functions of the Boards and allow us to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of what is done by our partners individually and collectively to safeguard and promote welfare; and for us to advise on ways to improve.

Our activities include:

The information collected through these activities will help to inform the strategic priorities for the Boards and our business plans. There are strong links across other subgroups to ensure learning, development and communication issues identified are addressed effectively. Our quality assurance frameworks include a suite of performance indicators that includes data from a range of key agencies. We have an agreed programme of multi-agency case file audits; and thematic analysis of these, along with learning and actions from statutory and other reviews, will further inform our continuous improvement.

MSB Quality Assurance Activity

A core function of the MSAB and MSCB is to monitor the quality of the work undertaken to safeguard children and adults; and to understand the impact of this work in terms of its effectiveness in improving outcomes and keeping children and adults safe from harm.

How we do this is set out in our Quality Assurance Frameworks and this work is overseen by the MSAB and MSCB Quality Assurance & Performance Improvement (QAPI) subgroups.

The statutory functions of the MSAB and MSCB include the requirements to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of what is done by partners individually and collectively to safeguard and promote welfare  and advise them on ways to improve.

This can include:

  • assessing the effectiveness and impact of the help being provided to children, adults and families, including early help;
  • quality assuring practice for example through joint audits of case files involving practitioners and identifying lessons to be learned;
  • assess whether board partners are fulfilling their statutory obligations and parallel duties; and
  • asking board partners to self-evaluate.

Multi-agency audits

The role of the Boards is key to shaping the attitude of agencies towards partnership working. A systematic approach to quality assurance and a cycle of continuous learning through constructive challenge will help us establish a positive culture which will cascade through to front-line practice.

Our multi-agency audits are solution-focused and carried out in a spirit of open learning with the intention of further improving outcomes for children, adults and families.

An audit is carried out to ensure that policy/procedure is being followed. It provides evidence of best practice and can demonstrate the quality of our work to external bodies and inspectors. It also allows areas of weakness to be identified and acted upon.

The actual process of carrying out an audit can sometimes be as beneficial as the outcomes. It provides staff with the time and space to reflect critically on practice. Where different agencies are involved in an audit, there is an opportunity to learn about different roles and responsibilities.

The MSB Business Unit will co-ordinate audits, however assistance from partner agencies is essential in order to gather the necessary information needed and access to the appropriate practitioners.

The audit team agree the terms of reference for the audit, act as a consultant throughout the audit and consider the final findings.

It is helpful to have people with a variety of different perspectives within the audit team. The group should therefore include staff from different levels/roles or, where appropriate, different agencies. It is best practice for an audit to be led by someone other than the manager for the area under consideration.

What is involved?
As a minimum any audit will include the following stages:

  • Establish a task and finish/ audit group.
  • Develop a term of reference (ToR) including an introduction/context, the scope and coverage of the audit, methodology and time frame for completion.
  • Approval of ToR at the relevant QAPI subgroup.
  • Review meetings with task and finish group.
  • Updates at other subgroup meetings if required.
  • Production of a final audit report including appropriate recommendations.
  • Report to be presented to the task and finish group in the first instance for quality assurance purposes.
  • Final report to be presented to the relevant QAPI.
  • Approved audit report to published on the website and distributed appropriately.

Who decides the multi-agency audit programme?
The Boards have an annual audit programme which is agreed by the partnership and undertaken on a multi-agency basis.

If you have any questions about MSB quality assurance activity please contact the MSB Policy & Performance Officer on tele: 0161 234 3330 or email: manchestersafeguardingboards@manchester.gov.uk

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