Section 11 audits – information for practitioners
The Children Act (2004) places a statutory obligation on a number of agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people whilst carrying out their normal functions.
One of the functions of the MSCB is to check the effectiveness of local arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. This includes monitoring the effectiveness of organisations’ implementation of their duties under, and in compliance with Section 11 of Children Act 2004 and Section 175 of Education Act 2002.
The MSCB Section 11 audit is completed annually by partner agencies. In Manchester, Section 11 places a duty on:
- the local authority that provides 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 Board and clinical commissioning groups, NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts;
- the police, including the police and crime commissioner and the chief officer of the force;
- the Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Service;
- Governors/Directors of Prisons and Young Offender Institutions;
- Directors of Secure Training Centres; and
- Youth Offending Teams/Services.
These organisations should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including:
- a clear line of accountability for the commissioning and/or provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
- a senior board level lead to take responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements;
- a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in individual decisions and the development of services;
- arrangements which set out clearly the processes for sharing information, with other professionals and with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB);
- a designated professional lead (or, for health provider organisations, named professionals) for safeguarding. Their role is to support other professionals in their agencies to recognise the needs of children, including rescue from possible abuse or neglect. Designated professional roles should always be explicitly defined in job descriptions. Professionals should be given sufficient time, funding, supervision and support to fulfil their child welfare and safeguarding responsibilities effectively;
- safe recruitment practices for individuals whom the organisation will permit to work regularly with children, including policies on when to obtain a criminal record check;
- appropriate supervision and support for staff, including undertaking safeguarding training;
- clear policies in line with those from the LSCB for dealing with allegations against people who work with children. An allegation may relate to a person who works with children who has behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child; possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.
In addition to these Section 11 duties, which apply to a number of named organisations, further safeguarding duties are also placed on individual organisations through other statutes. The key duties that fall on each individual organisation are set out in Working Together 2015. Read more about this in www.workingtogetheronline.co.uk/chapter_two.
MSCB Section 11 Audit
In order to add extra value to the process a challenge event is organised, which is facilitated by the Independent Chair of the MSCB, with attendance from each agency. The purpose of this event is to offer further challenge and accountability into each Section 11 audit that is returned.
This process has proved extremely successful, changing a paper based response into a dynamic, interactive process allowing both agency representatives and the board an opportunity to examine the responses on the return.
Section 11 assessment findings
Following a Section 11 assessment, the MSCB will produce a report which outlines the findings of the assessment.
All organisations that are subject to Section 11 are committed to making this a transparent and open process and where ever possible to sharing good practice and learning from one another.
If you would like to view the full assessment of a particular organisation then the MSCB can put you in contact with the relevant contact within that organisation.
For more information contact the MSB Policy & Performance Officer on tele: 0161 234 3330 or at firstname.lastname@example.org