Quality of Practice & Performance
SSCB should use data and other performance information to assess the effectiveness of the help being provided to children and families, including early help; whether partners are fulfilling their statutory obligations; and quality assuring practice, including through joint audits of case files involving practitioners and identifying lessons to be learned.
The lead for this aspect of the Board’s work is through the Quality of Practice and Performance Sub Group (QPP)
The purpose of the QPP Sub Group is to seek assurances that children and young people are being effectively safeguarded in Sandwell. This includes undertaking the following activities:
- Being a strong enquirer and challenger of effective frontline practice.
- Reviewing performance information and seeking to understand the story behind the data.
- Leading a case-auditing system that provides learning about the quality of practice and areas for improvement.
- Providing robust and independent challenge of the local system with a focus on action that can be taken to drive improvements.
- Ensuring that Sandwell Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) meets its statutory objectives to safeguard the welfare of children and young people.
This is achieved in a number of ways;
The Quality Assurance Framework (QAF)
SSCB with a framework to assess the performance of multi-agency safeguarding practice within Sandwell and the effectiveness of the SSCB itself.
The framework sets out the SSCB’s approach to quality assurance, which is to ensure openness and transparency and create a culture of continuous learning and challenge.
SSCB Performance Reports
One of the core functions of the SSCB is to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the work by the Board’s partners individually and collectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and to advise them on ways to improve.
In Sandwell this is facilitated by the multi-agency dataset which collates data from across the partnership about safeguarding activity and this information is used to produce each report.
What is Section 11?
Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places duties on a range of organisations and individuals to ensure their functions, and any services that they contract out to others, are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Who does s11 apply to
Compliance with S11 is a statutory requirement for the following:
- Local authorities
- NHS organisations include the NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups, NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts.
- The police
- British Transport Police
- Probation Service
- Governors / Directors of Prisons and Young Offender Institutes
- Directors of Secure Training Centres and
- Youth Offending Services
However SSCB request that all partner organisations should also be compliant with Section 11.
How does the SSCB know if organisations are fulfilling their statutory obligations under S11?
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) requires LSCBs to gather data to assess whether partners are meeting their statutory obligations. In Sandwell, compliance with S11 is monitored every 2 years using a self-assessment web based toolkit is accessible via a web link (https://sandwellscb.vc-enable.co.uk) and a secure log-on.
The Sandwell audit for 2015-2017 is broader than S11 and consists of 96 questions with a yes no or partly point grading system. Additional areas include Domestic Abuse, FGM, Early Help, CSE, Neglect and Prevent
Following completion of the toolkit all organisations are invited to a Scrutiny Panel and the recommendations made and actions set are followed up by assurance reports.
In Sandwell, safeguarding of children is of utmost importance, schools have a major role to play in ensuring the effectiveness of safeguarding and improving the opportunities and outcomes for vulnerable children and families.
SSCB monitor compliance with s175/157 every year using an online audit tool which enables the education sector using a web based toolkit. The toolkit, which is accessible via a web link and a secure log-on https://sandwellscb.vc-enable.co.uk, allows Schools to assess effectiveness in meeting safeguarding responsibilities and assist in meeting obligations with Ofsted inspections.
Upon completion of the self-assessment audit, education providers may be selected to attend a SSCB quality assurance panel.
SSCB evaluate single and multi-agency working the SSCB with structured programme of case files audits with a focus on:
- Looking at the involvement of the different agencies;
- and Identifying the quality of practice, adherence to protocols and lessons to be learned in terms of single agency, multi-agency and multidisciplinary practice.
On behalf of the SSCB, the Quality of Practice and Performance Sub Group undertake quality audits of cases where there are two or more agencies involved in working with a family. The core membership of this group is based on social care, education, health and the police, and probation but other agencies are involved where relevant.
The schedule of audit for the Board will be influenced by and aligned to the priorities within the business plan. Audits may also be carried out in response to the findings of other elements of this Framework, such as analysis of the data set, emerging themes or outcomes of case audits/SCRs. Audits may also be instigated by changes to legislation or national agendas.