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Organisational Safeguarding Assessment (Section 11)

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Introduction

The following DCFP Process Guidance relates to Section 11 of the Children Act 2004.

  • Document created: June 2022
  • Review date: June 2023

In May 2022, the DCFP Practice Development Group endorsed a plan to use the Leeds’ Safeguarding Children Partnership’s online ‘Organisational Safeguarding Assessment’ (OSA) form and process in order to carry out Section 11; local arrangements under Working Together 2018.

The following process guidance sets out the how the reportable standards from the Children Act 2004 (known as the section 11 assessment) are used to carry out at least bi-annual assessment. Under Working Together 2018, there is a duty on named agencies to meet the requirements of Section 11 but there is significant scope for local discretion around how the DCFP obtains all assurance about the effectiveness of agency compliance with their Section 11 duties.

For the purpose of our online form, the reportable standards from Working Together 2018 (see Appendix 1) are broken down into nine areas (See Appendix 2 for full details)

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

Section 11 places a duty on:

Local Authorities that provide children’s and other types of services, including…

  • Children’s and Adult Social Care Services (to Include Commissioned services)
  • Public Health
  • Housing
  • Sport, Culture and Leisure Services
  • Licensing Authorities
  • Youth Services
  • Youth Offending Teams/Services

NHS organisations including…

  • NHS England
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • NHS Trusts
  • NHS Foundation Trusts

The police including

  • Police and Crime Commissioners
  • Chief Officer of each police force in England
  • The British Transport Police

The National Probation Service including

  • Governors/Directors of Prisons and Young Offender Institutions
  • Directors of Secure Training Centres

CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service)

Process

The section 11 process is a statutory requirement and an integral part of the self-assessment and assurance of effective safeguarding practice for each agency. It should not be considered as a period of stand-alone assessment activity and therefore should feature in all agencies reporting and internal self-assessment and governance processes.

This section 11 process requires each agency to produce and submit an ‘Organisational Safeguarding Assessment’ via the online form. The form will lead you to ‘RAG’ your agency against each reportable standard, identify and provide evidence of compliance and consider what, if any, improvements are needed. The online form contains guidance notes for each section. Non submission of an ‘Organisational Safeguarding Assessment’ will be reported to the DCFP Executive Chair to follow up with respective senior leaders within that agency.

Agencies are encouraged to draw on, where appropriate, relevant single agency actions from safeguarding reviews (Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews, rapid reviews, historical SCRs, DHRs, SARs) and Multi Agency Assessments undertaken through the previous period and report back to the Panel giving assurances that these actions have been, are being, or are in a planning cycle to be addressed and embedded in improved practice.

The ‘Organisational Safeguarding Assessment’ will be automatically submitted to the DCFP Business Team. They should be submitted at least three weeks prior to a Section 11 Assurance Panel for scrutiny by the Panel members (see below for panel details). Agencies will be invited to attend the Panel for a 30-minute session including Q&A (dates TBA).

Whilst attendance at the Panel is not mandatory this will be a time to expand on the agency’s submitted report, respond to questions relating to their submission as well as incorporate other relevant safeguarding topics from the agency to the Panel, therefore, offering a broad picture of the agency’s Section 11 and broader safeguarding compliance. Non-attendance will result in the Panel assessing the agency’s compliance from their submitted report in isolation.

The Panel will subsequently produce a brief Assurance Report reflecting each agency’s submission and Panel time for the consideration of the DCFP Executive Group as part of their annual assurances and statement of effectiveness.

The DCFP Section 11 assurance reports will feature in the published DCFP Annual Report.

DCFP Section 11 Panel Membership

The Panel will include:

  • Chair DCFP Executive Group
  • Independent Scrutineer
  • DCFP Partnership Manager
  • Quality Assurance Lead Professional

This is not an exhaustive list and members can be added at the discretion of the Executive.

Timescales and deadlines

Single agency ‘Organisational Safeguarding Assessment’ submitted by 23rd September 2022 with a Section 11 Assurance Panel held in November 2022. Invites for agency attendance at Panel to be sent out in October 2022.

April 2021 to March 2022 reportable in September 2022
April 2022 to March 2023 reportable in September 2023
April 2023 to March 2024 reportable in September 2024

Appendix 1

The following is an exert from Working Together 2018 (pages 59 and 60).


These organisations and agencies 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 with the required knowledge, skills and expertise or sufficiently qualified and experienced to take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s/agency’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’ 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
  • clear escalation policies for staff to follow when their child safeguarding concerns are not being addressed within their organisation or by other agencies
  • arrangements which set out clearly the processes for sharing information, with other practitioners and with safeguarding partners
  • a designated practitioner (or, for health commissioning and health provider organisations/agencies, designated and named practitioners) for child safeguarding. Their role is to support other practitioners in their organisations and agencies to recognise the needs of children, including protection from possible abuse or neglect. Designated practitioner roles should always be explicitly defined in job descriptions. Practitioners should be given sufficient time, funding, supervision and support to fulfil their child welfare and safeguarding responsibilities effectively
  • safe recruitment practices and ongoing safe working practices for individuals whom the organisation or agency 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
  • creating a culture of safety, equality and protection within the services they provide

In addition:

  • 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 a mandatory induction, which includes familiarisation with child protection responsibilities and the procedures to be followed if anyone has any concerns about a child’s safety or welfare

all practitioners should have regular reviews of their own practice to ensure they have knowledge, skills and expertise that improve over time

Appendix 2

Schedule of questions from the online ‘Organisational Safeguarding Assessment’ form.


Senior management commitment to the importance of safeguarding and promoting adults at risk and/or childrens welfare.

  • Is there a person responsible for safeguarding at senior management level/trustee/or senior management committee?
  • Is there a system in place that demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding and which takes learning from reviews, assessments and initiatives forward to enable improvements in practice?

A clear statement of the organisation’s responsibilities towards children and/or adults at risk is available for staff and volunteers

  • Is an accessible safeguarding policy in place which sets out clearly the responsibilities of staff and volunteers for safeguarding children and/or adults at risk, including when and how to act on safeguarding concerns?
  • Do staff and volunteers have access to all the organisation’s relevant policies and procedures, e.g., on the internet or in a staff handbook?
  • Do staff, including volunteers, have clearly identified responsibilities for safeguarding children and/or adults at risk?
  • Are staff informed of their professional boundaries and know when and where to pass on information?
  • Are effective complaints procedures in place for children, adults, staff, volunteers and other people where there are concerns that safeguarding has not been taken into account?
  • Are there policies in place which include reference to the importance of listening to children and adults at risk and responding appropriately?

A clear line of accountability exists within the organisation for work on the safeguarding of children

  • Are safeguarding priorities contained in the organisation’s main or strategic plan/s?
  • Does the organisation have policies and procedures that clearly show how to report welfare or safety concerns about children and/or adults at risk?
  • Are safeguarding responsibilities included in job descriptions and or volunteer responsibilities?
  • Is safeguarding routinely discussed in supervision and included in staff appraisals?

When planning or commissioning new services, how do you consider safeguarding children and/or adults at risk

  • Does the development of new services or pieces of work take safeguarding children and/or adults at risk into account?
  • Are the views of children, adults at risk, carers and families sought when the organisation is developing a new service or piece of work?
  • Are services and newly commissioned pieces of work developed to ensure equal access for all sectors of the community?

Training on safeguarding children/adults at risk for staff and volunteers working with, or in contact with children and families

  • Is the importance of safeguarding included in the organisation’s induction programme for staff and volunteers?
  • Are the areas detailed in the guidance notes, covered within your organisation’s safeguarding induction programme?
  • Do staff and volunteers attend in house introductory safeguarding training?
  • Children Services only: If the organisation provides its own introductory safeguarding training, does it meet the standards and requirements of the LSCP.
  • Do you keep records of the safeguarding training attended by each volunteer or staff member?
  • Does your organisation ensure that staff are encouraged and required to attend child/adult protection and safeguarding training (as appropriate)?
  • Does the organisation have a compulsory safeguarding training programme for all levels of the organisation?
  • Does your organisation measure the impact of safeguarding training back in the workplace and on outcomes for children, young people and adults at risk?

Safer recruitment

  • Does the organisation have a safer recruitment policy in line with your local Partnership procedures?
  • Have all DBS checks been carried out and updated in accordance with legal requirements?
  • Have people within the organisation who are involved in the recruitment and selection of staff attended safer recruitment training provided by the LSCP or attended an equivalent course?
  • Does the organisation have procedures for workers to pass on concerns about staff and volunteers to managers, or an identified person in a position of responsibility who deals with, or responds to allegations made against staff?
  • Children Services only: Is there a named senior officer/s or a person in a position of responsibility who ensure allegations are passed to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer)? For Adults: Does your organisation have effective working arrangements, consistent with the local safeguarding adults board, for responding to allegations against people in a position of trust?
  • Does the organisation ensure staff or volunteers are aware of the procedures for dealing with allegations made against staff or any visitors, VIPs?

Effective inter-agency working to safeguard children

  • Is your organisation regularly represented within multi-agency safeguarding meetings and discussions?
  • Do staff and volunteers understand when to make a referral for a child or adult in need or at risk?
  • Childrens Services only: If appropriate do staff know when to under-take or make a referral for an Early Help Assessment?

Staff are aware of the information sharing procedure for their organisation

  • Do staff and volunteers understand when and how to share information if they have concerns that a child or adult at risk may be being abused or needs additional support or services?

Work with individual children, adults at risk and their families/carers

  • Are staff aware of the roles of other professionals and organisations and understand the principles of working with children and families explained in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, and for adults, the Care Act 2014 and the Mental Capacity Act?
  • Are assessments/enquiries carried out with children, adults at risk and their families based on the principles defined within the Safeguarding Procedures (see Local SCP website) and local multi-agency adults policies and procedures.
  • Where appropriate are the principles of good practice for work with individual children, adults at risk, carers and families included in training and induction programmes?
  • Does the organisation ensure its work is anti-discriminatory and provides equality of opportunity for individual children, adults at risk, carers and families?
  • Are children and adults at risk who use your service made aware of their right to be safe from abuse and know how they can raise such concerns?

 

 

 

 


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