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Quality Assurance and Performance Information
Quality Assurance and Performance Information Sub Group
One of the fundamental strategic intentions and responsibilities of the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) is to be assured that services for children and families across Lancashire are safe, continually improving and are aspiring to be the highest quality possible.
The Board has, therefore, mandated the QAPI sub group to take an inter-agency and multi- faceted perspective on:
The quality and performance of the services provided by its partner agencies,
To report to the Board on service excellence and areas that require performance improvement.
A multi-agency dataset has been well embedded by the QAPI sub group, based on the NW Performance Framework. This pulls together performance information from various agencies, with a view to seeking assurance from partners that children and young people in Lancashire are appropriately safeguarding. Data and intelligence is interrogated and commentary provided to the LSCB via highlight reports which assists in setting strategic priorities; provides an opportunity for challenge back to single agencies; and supports the identification of priorities for multi-agency audit.
Where possible, performance information is ranked and compared with the national and regional pictures, and data of specific interest to the group is also interrogated at a local/district level.
A key role of the Sub Group is to undertake audits in order to identify gaps and good practice in working arrangements which allows recommendations to be made to the LSCB (and its member agencies) around improvements that need to be made. Below you will find information regarding our two main audit functions: Section 11; and the multi-agency audit programme.
Section 11 Audits
Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a duty on key people and bodies to make arrangements to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The application of this duty will vary according to the nature of each agency and its functions.
In order to seek assurance that agencies are fulfilling their duties, the LSCB conducts an annual Section 11 Audit which collects information from member agencies on Leadership; Commitment; Accountability & Governance; Service Development/Review; Training; Supervision; Safe Recruitment; Interagency Working; and Information Sharing. Agencies are required to RAG rate themselves in accordance with these areas of interest and to embed any documents which support their position. For agencies which mark themselves as amber of red in a specific section, it is expected that they update the QAPI sub-group on how they intend to improve this rating.
Section 11 returns are collected and analysed by the QAPI sub-group. Each year 5 agencies are selected to take part in a section 11 challenge event. This allows the QAPI sub-group the opportunity to visit organisations and understand how they are ensuring that they meet the section 11 requirements. The section 11 visits are conducted by a member of the QAPI sub-group, alongside a representative from a similar organisation to offer sector appropriate challenge. This information is then collated for all agencies challenged and presented to the board to offer assurance that we are questioning agencies on how they are meeting their safeguarding responsibilities.
In 2016, the LSCB introduced a new scheme of multi-agency audit activity which aims to identify good practice and to highlight areas for concern and development both on a single agency and multi-agency basis.
The QAPI sub group is responsible for co-ordinating the audits and sets a specific topic for each (based on recommendations from the LSCB; Ofsted Improvement Board; and findings from recent Serious Case Reviews). Below is a brief outline of what the audit process involves:
15 cases (5 from each of the locality areas - Central/East/North) are chosen for the audit based on criteria unique to the topic;
All agencies involved with each case are expected to complete the audit tool and are asked to rate their involvement (providing justification), using grading criteria which aligns with CQC and Ofsted Inspection practice;
Completed single agency audits are combined into a multi-agency document which summarises each case in its entirety;
Auditors then meet to evaluate the cases on a multi-agency basis and identify themes emerging from the audit work carried out;
The final audit is written based on all information collected, including single agency audit returns, case summaries and the discussions held at the auditor meetings;
The audit report, and summary document is considered by the LSCB for agreement;
Summary reports are shared below once agreed.
There has been positive engagement from agencies, which means the audit process is proving successful. Agencies to have been involved include: Local Authority (CSC; WPEH; SEND); Health providers; Clinical Commissioning Groups; Education; Police; Probation; and organisations from the voluntary, community and faith sector.
The Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board ceases to exist with effect from 29th September and in its place will be the new Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool and Lancashire Children's Safeguarding Assurance Partnership (CSAP). Resources and training are still available for you to access and all pages and documentation will be updated in due course.