‘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.’
Section 11 auditing has been jointly undertaken by Bexley S.H.I.E.L.D., Greenwich and, Lewisham Safeguarding Children’s Partnerships since 2021/22. Activity for 2021/22 was an assurance survey to strategic leads in all relevant agencies to obtain a baseline of evidence. For 2022/23, a survey was issued in January 2023 to all practitioners in Greenwich and a separate survey was sent to Police and Health partners working across the tri-borough.
The 2022/23 Section 11 Audit was developed in partnership with the Tri-Borough (Bexley, Lewisham & Greenwich) – Partnership Managers and Independent Scrutineers. The audit tool used was a survey:
• We asked 23 questions
• We varied the style of question
• The survey was open for 5 weeks
It has been agreed that the same questions will be used for 3 consecutive years to build a picture of strength and needs across the borough and Tri-Borough. There was a low response rate overall however, responses showed a good understanding of the key elements of safeguarding. Some of the headline findings are below:
• There are indications that practitioners still have some challenges around child centered practice – in addition to the reluctance to ask children about their experience, practitioners also were less likely to think that professional curiosity included curiosity about a child’s life
• Positively, there are reports of high levels of supervision, which includes space for reflective practice around conscious bias
• The training practitioners receive has a positive impact on practice but, there are lower numbers attending GSCP courses
• Respondents report accessing training on emerging issues (Online Safeguarding and Child exploitation)
• The School’s Safeguarding Network will look at the school responses in more detail and draw out any school specific recommendations and actions
• The Independent Scrutineer and Business Unit will map the s11 survey responses against the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel findings and determine whether our results reflect the Panel’s research
• The Tri-Borough Learning Forum will jointly review the tri-borough responses and, agree specific recommendations and actions.