Section 11 Audit
Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a statutory duty on key people and bodies to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Specifically, Section 11 places a duty on:
- 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 England 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.
- British Transport Police
- The National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies
- Governors/Directors of Prisons and Young Offender Institutions
- Directors of Secure Training Centres
- Principals of Secure Colleges
- Youth Offending Teams/Services
These organisations should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting child welfare 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 leadership 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
- Clear whistleblowing procedures, which reflect the principles in Sir Robert Francis’s Freedom to speak Up Review and are suitably referenced in staff training and codes of conduct, and a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children to be addressed.
- Arrangements which clearly set out the process for sharing information with other professionals and Local Safeguarding Childrens Boards.
- A designated professional lead for safeguarding (or named professional in health). Their role is to support other professionals to recognise the needs of children including rescue from possible abuse or neglect. Designated professional roles should be explicitly defined in job descriptions and professionals should be given time, funding, supervision and support to fulfil their responsibilities effectively.
- Safe recruitment practices including policies on when to obtain a criminal record check
- Appropriate supervision and support for staff including safeguarding training:
- Employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role.
- Staff should be given mandatory induction, which includes familiarisation with child protection responsibilities and procedures to be followed if anyone has any concerns about a child’s safety or welfare and;
- All professionals should have regular reviews of their own practice to ensure they improve over time.
- Clear policies in line with those from the LSCB for dealing with allegations against people who work with children. Such policies should make clear distinction between an allegation, a concern about the quality of care or practice or a complaint. An allegation may related 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 a related to a child; or
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose or risk harm to children.
- County level and unitary local authorities should ensure that allegations against people who work with children are not dealt with in isolation. Any action necessary to address corresponding welfare concerns in relation to the child or children involved should be taken without delay and in a coordinated manner.
- Local authorities should put in place arrangements to provide advice and guidance on how to deal with allegations against people who work with children to employers and voluntary organisations. Local authorities should also ensure that there are appropriate arrangements in place to effectively liaise with the police and other agencies to monitor the progress of case and ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible with a thorough and fair process.
- Employers and voluntary organisations should ensure that they have clear policies in place setting out the process, including timescales, for investigation and what support and advice will be available to individuals against whom allegations have been made. Any allegation against people who work with children should be reported immediately to senior manager within the organisation. The designated officer, or team of officers, should also be informed within one working day of allegations that to an employer’s attention ort that are made directly to the police.
- If an organisations removes an individual (paid workers or unpaid volunteer) from work such as looking after children (or wold have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to children, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service. It is an offence o fail to make a referral without good reason.
West Yorkshire Section 11 Audit Tool
The document to be completed by partners in Kirklees for the 2015 audit can be downloaded here:
The 2013 Audit Tool can also be accessed here.
If you have any questions or queries about the audit document or audit process please contact Philip Cross, Safeguarding Children Co-ordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01484 225450.
The Challenge Event - Section 11
To further challenge section 11 compliance the Evaluation and Effectiveness Workstream organises meetings with representatives from the organisation audited. Each agency is asked to give a presentation on a specific theme followed by a question and answer session.
All organisations receive a report on the findings of the Section 11 process. This will include findings and recommendations identified by the challenge panels (comprising E&E Workstream, Board members and Board Chair)
Young people were included in the event for the first time in 2013 and will continue to provide valuable insight to our audit processes and have shown us many times how to engage young people to help keep them safe.