The statutory objectives of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) are set out in Section 14 of the Children Act 2004. They are: (a) to co-ordinate what is done by each person or body represented on the Board for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area; and (b) to ensure the effectiveness of what is done by each such person or body for those purposes. The functions of LSCBs are set out in Regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards Regulations, 2006. In order to fulfil the objectives and functions, one of the key activities of the Board is to “quality assure practice, including through joint audits of case files involving practitioners and identifying lessons to be learned” (Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2015, Chapter 3).
LSCBs have the legal authority to review cases in Section 14b of the Children Act 2004 (extract below):
Supply of information requested by LSCBs
(1)If a Local Safeguarding Children Board established under section 13 requests a person or body to supply information specified in the request to—
(a)the Board, or
(b)another person or body specified in the request,
the request must be complied with if the first and second conditions are met and either the third or the fourth condition is met.
(2)The first condition is that the request is made for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Board to perform its functions.
(3)The second condition is that the request is made to a person or body whose functions or activities are considered by the Board to be such that the person or body is likely to have information relevant to the exercise of a function by the Board.
(4)The third condition is that the information relates to—
(a)the person or body to whom the request is made,
(b)a function or activity of that person or body, or
(c)a person in respect of whom a function is exercisable, or an activity is engaged in, by that person or body.
(5)The fourth condition is that the information—
(a)is information requested by the Board from a person or body to whom information was supplied in compliance with another request under this section, and
(b)is the same as, or is derived from, information so supplied.
(6)The information may be used by the Board, or other person or body to whom it is supplied under subsection (1), only for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Board to perform its functions.
(7)A Local Safeguarding Children Board must have regard to any guidance given to it by the Secretary of State in connection with the exercise of its functions under this section.
As detailed above, the LSCB has an important role in quality assuring safeguarding practice in Redbridge. To achieve this, we will regularly review or audit safeguarding cases involving multi-agency working to make sure that practice is effective, focused on children and that any learning is identified and acted upon to improve service delivery and ultimately the outcomes for children and young people. As part of the multi-agency audit process, the Board has to monitor and enable sharing of personal information between different agencies working with children and families. This information will only be shared with agency representatives nominated and accredited by Board partners and kept secure at all times, including by using electronic information systems.
Confidentiality and Consent
The following principles are applied in relation to confidentiality and consent:
- consent is not required for multi-agency audit activity as it is a quality assurance process designed to examine whether organisational systems and processes are robust in protecting children;
- the audit work will be conducted by a manager/practitioner who has a duty of confidentiality and the relevant level of experience and knowledge;
- the names of the subject i.e. child and family members will be anonymised in reports;
- the learning from audits will be fed back to practitioners with the intention of strengthening safeguarding practice; and
- there will be strict adherence to the information sharing guidance and confidentiality requirements, with audit participants being required to sign a confidentiality statement at audit ’round table’ events.
Multi-Agency Audit Programme 2017 – 2018
The LSCB undertakes regular themed multi-agency audits across partner agencies as part of a Programme. These are agreed in advance by the Executive and are usually in line with the priorities of the LSCB Business Plan. Previous audits have included neglect, teenage relationship abuse, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), and working with families with multiple needs.
For further information on previous audits, see the reports LSCB Key Findings and Learning from MA Audits 2015 – 2016 and LSCB Key Findings and Learning from MA Audits 2016-2017.
The Multi-Agency Audit Programme is devised, implemented and co-ordinated by the LSCB Multi Agency Audit Working Group, chaired by the LSCB Quality Assurance Manager, which reports into the LSCB Learning and Improvement Sub Group. The Multi-Agency Audit Programme 2017 – 2018 is linked to the LSCB Business Plan covering the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018. The themes are:
- Care Plans of children and young people subject to CP Plan under the category of ‘Neglect’;
- Children who go missing;
- Services responses to e-safety and peer-on-peer sexual abuse;
- Children with mental health and social issues; and
- Harmful cultural practices.
The Programme also includes the conclusion of the 2016 – 2018 Section 11 Audit process.
For more information about quality assurance and the role or learning from multi-agency audits, contact Andrea Barrell, LSCB Quality Assurance Manager, via Andrea.Barrell@redbridge.gov.uk.
Quality Assurance of Training
The LSCB Framework and Principles for Safeguarding Children Training (PDF 516 KB) sets out the LSCB approach to quality assuring training.
The NSPCC have produced a pack which helps LSCBs to audit the recommendations of Serious Case Reviews (SCRs):
Copies of presentations from briefings on the learning from Multi-Agency Audits are available via the Training Presentation page on the website.