Section 11 Audit

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Children Partnership board undertook a section 11 audit with partner agencies during January to March 2020. This audit is undertaken, every two years, to ascertain if agencies across the partnership are effectively safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people in accordance with their section 11 statutory responsibilities.

Alongside the section 11 audit self-assessment tool that was sent to the executive leads of safeguarding partner agencies, a survey for all safeguarding children professionals was made available on the internet platform ‘survey monkey’. Twenty six self-assessment audit tools were returned and 457 professionals replied to the survey.


Good Practice Areas

MASH Referrals

Question 6, within the self-assessment audit tool, asked if staff and volunteers were aware of their responsibilities if they were concerned about a child or young person and if they knew how to make a referral to the Multi – Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) or to other services for additional support. For this question, 100% of agencies scored their self-assessment audit tool as green (fully met). Most referred to their policies, procedures and to all staff being trained in this area.

Responses to question 10 of the professionals’ survey, supports the green scores of the agencies self-assessment audit tools, with 99% people stating they knew what to do if they had a safeguarding concern about a child. This is an improvement on the previous professionals’ survey held in 2017.

Resolving Professional Difference (Escalation)

Question 8, within the self-assessment audit tool, asked if staff and volunteers understand and appropriately use the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board Resolving Professional Differences Policy (Escalation policy). 88% of agencies indicated within their self-assessment audit tool that they scored this question as being green.

Practitioner’s responses to question 7, within the professionals’ survey, supports the agencies scoring of their self-assessment audit tools. 98% of people stated that they knew how to escalate their concerns if they were concerned about a child or young person.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough resolving professional differences policy featured as an illustration of ‘good practice’, within Marion Brandon et al (2019) ‘Complexity and Challenge’ research.


Question 5, within the self-assessment audit tool, enquired if agencies had clear procedures for handling and recording allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers. 100% of agencies scored their self-assessment audit tool as green (fully met). Many referred to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and of local safeguarding policies for raising concerns. The 2020 self-assessment audit tool findings are an improvement on the 2017 self- assessment audit in relation to LADO policies and procedures.

Responses to the professionals’ survey, question 16, supports the agencies self-assessment audit tools scores in that 98% of respondents said that they knew what to do if they had a concern about another member of staff / volunteer.

The Lived Experience of the Child

Question 9, within the self-assessment audit tool enquired, ‘for those staff who work directly with children and families, do they seek the views of service users and implement them into their assessments, planning and practice?’ 81% of agencies indicated within their self-assessment audit tool that they scored this question as being green, fully met and 19 % scored this question as not being applicable to their adult facing service.

Practitioners’ responses to questions 17 and 18 of the professionals’ survey showed that 91% stated that they sought to gain the views of the children and families that they worked with an 82% of professionals said that they put the views of children at the centre of their practice

Based on the results and improvements shown in this section 11 audit, the work carried out by the board to support agencies in capturing the lived experience of the child has had a positive impact on practice. There is a training pack available for single agencies to adapt and cascade within their organisations and the LEOTC guidance and has been updated with comments from this audit/survey.

Areas for improvement

Knowledge of the Effective Support for Working with Children and Families (Threshold) document

Question 12 in the professionals’ survey asked if the Effective Support Document had been disseminated across the service. Whilst it is encouraging that 80% of respondents said that the document had been disseminated across their agency, it is disappointing that 20% of people said that it had not been disseminated across their organisation.

Knowledge and Use of Risk Assessment Tools

The practitioners’ survey shows that there are a significant amount of professionals who are not aware of the safeguarding risk assessment tools available to support their child protection/early help referrals and to inform their intervention plans.

The table below shows how many practitioners were aware of the tools (green) and of those who were not (red).

Child Neglect

From the professionals’ survey most people (98%) said that they were confident in being able to identify child neglect. However, few agencies have embedded the use of neglect tools into practice.

In question 15 only 17 professionals said that they had completed the Quality of Care Tool and 56 had completed the Graded Care Profile Tool in the past twelve months. This survey shows that professionals have a good grasp of what child neglect is but over a third were not aware of neglect assessment tools to aid practice and few professionals completed them. As compared to the 2017 practitioner’s survey this survey indicates a decrease in the use of the child neglect assessment tools.

Child Sexual Abuse

Within the self-assessment audit tool only one agency said that the Brook assessment tool was embedded into practice and only within certain departments

From the professionals’ survey it was noted that 47 % of people were not aware of the Brook assessment tool and only 31 practitioners said that they had completed a Brook assessment tool in the past 12 months.

Child Criminal Exploitation

Even though every agency responded to this question within the section 11 self-assessment audit tool as the standard being fully met and scoring ‘green’, the professionals’ survey responses did not agree. In question 8, 13 % of professionals stated that they were not confident in recognising the sings and indicators of CCE.

39% of people, in question 13, said that they were not aware of the Child Criminal Exploitation risk assessment tool, which is an integral part of risk assessment and making child protection referrals.

Learning Lessons from Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (Formally Serious Case Reviews)

75% of the section 11 self-assessment audit tools returned indicated that they fully met (scored green) for this question followed by a 25% (scored Amber) of responses adding that they needed to work more on embedding the findings into practice

Question 12, from the professionals’ survey asked if the information from local and national SCRs had been disseminated within their organisation. 25% of respondents said that they had not received such information.

What has happened as a result of the Section 11 Audit Findings?

Safeguarding Assessment Tools. Concerns were raised at both the Children Safeguarding Partnership Board and the Executive Safeguarding Partnership Board in relation to safeguarding assessment tools not being embedded into frontline practice. As a result a task and finish group has been set up with a view to partners looking at the assessment tools closely and agreeing what tools can be used in what agencies and by which professionals.

Safeguarding Workshops have continued virtually online during August 2020 and made reference to all of the safeguarding assessment tools. The pre reading Microsoft SWAY presentation designed for the workshop attendees and the slides from the workshop are available on the website. The Lived Experience of the Child was updated from the section 11 findings and this was relaunched at the workshop.

Tool Box resources, professionals’ briefings, training slides and Microsoft SWAY presentations (i.e. basic safeguarding / online abuse/ domestic violence / sexual violence) have been developed and are available on the website. To date over 4000 practitioners have accessed these resources in the past 5 months.

Child Neglect. The safeguarding partnership board’s multi-agency training on child neglect has been reviewed and is due to be launched as an online training workshop during September 2020.

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE). During October 2020 there will be virtual online workshops offered to professionals and an introductory Microsoft SWAY presentation explaining what CCE is and where to find the CCE risk assessment tool.

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). A task and finish group has been set up to develop new multi-agency training to help practitioners identify CSA and make appropriate referrals. The Sexually Harmful Behaviour joint protocol was signed off by the safeguarding Partnership Board in July 2020 and makes reference to both the safeguarding partnerships CSA strategy and the supportive use of the Brook Traffic Light Tool.

Knowledge of the Effective Support for Working with Children and Families (Threshold) document has been redistributed and promoted through the safeguarding partnership boards communication unit and continues to feature within the safeguarding boards multi-agency training.

Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (CSPRs). The safeguarding partnership board continues to prepare briefings on each published CSPR and promotes the lessons learned within the termly workshops and via partners at the training subgroup. In most CSPR’s there are practitioner events where those were involved in the case come together to discuss the good areas of professional practice and what areas, if any, could have been improved. Specialist seven minute briefings are in development for the latest CSPRs for dissemination to partner agencies and front line professionals.

Reviewing and Monitoring. The recommendations from the Section 11 report feature within an Action Plan that is discussed at the Quality Effectiveness Group.

Further Information:

Useful resources for Professionals –

Child Practice Safeguarding Reviews (SCRs) –

Effective working together (threshold document) –

Neglect Strategy –

Graded Care Profile Tool –

Child Sexual Abuse Strategy –

Lived Experience of the Child Guidance –

Child Criminal Exploitation Strategy –

Exploitation and Risk Management Tool –


Marion Brandon, Peter Sidebotham, Pippa Belderson, Hedy Cleaver, Jonathan Dickens, Joanna Garstang, Julie Harris, Penny Sorensen and Russell Wate ;(July 2019): Complexity and challenge : a triennial analysis of SCRs 2014- 2017. Department of Education.

September 2020