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London Safeguarding Children Board: Child Protection Procedures 5th Edition London SCB Powered by tri.x Powered by tri.x
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5. Quality Assurance

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Contents

5.1

The LSCB's Monitoring and Evaluation Function

5.2

Individual Agencies' Quality Assurance

5.3

Unallocated Child Protection Cases


 

5.1

The LSCB's Monitoring and Evaluation Function


5.1.1


In order to provide effective scrutiny, the LSCB should be independent. It should not be subordinate to, nor subsumed within, other local structure. Every LSCB should have an independent chair who can hold all agencies to accounts.

It is the responsibility of the Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) to appoint or remove the LSCB chair with the agreement of a panel including LSCB partners and lay members. The Chief Executive, drawing on other LSCB partners and, where appropriate, the Lead Member will hold the Chair to account for the effective working of the LSCB.

The LSCB Chair should work closely with all LSCB partners and particularly with the Director of Children's Services. The Director of Children's Services has the responsibility within the local authority, under section 18 of the Children Act 2004, for improving outcomes for children, local authority children's social care functions and local cooperation arrangements for children's services.

 

Section 11

5.1.2

Section 11 (s.11) of the Children Act (2004) places duties on a range of organisations 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.

The SSCB monitors that organisations/agencies are s.11 compliant through on-going s.11 audits that are conducted on a 3 year rolling programme. In addition to this, specific single agency audits are planned. Further details of the years s.11 work is detailed in the SSCB Business Plan (2013 – 14, Objective 1: Challenge).

In order to ensure the effectiveness of local agencies' actions to safeguard and promote the welfare of children the LSCB should initiate and oversee a peer review process based on self-evaluation, performance indicators and joint audit. Its aim is to:

  • Promote high standards of safeguarding work;
  • Foster a culture of continuous improvement;
  • Identify and act on weaknesses in services;
  • To avoid unnecessary duplication of work the LSCB should ensure that its monitoring role complements and contributes to the work of both the children's trust and the inspectorates.

To avoid unnecessary duplication of work the LSCB should ensure that its monitoring and scrutinising role complements and contributes to the work of partner agencies.

5.1.3

There will be instances where a local agency is not performing effectively in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, and the LSCB is not convinced that any planned action to improve performance will be adequate. Where this occurs, the LSCB Chair or a member or employee designated by the chair, should explain these concerns to the individuals and agencies that need to be aware of the failing and may be able to take action, e.g. to:

  • The most senior individual/s in the agency;
  • The relevant inspectorate, and, if necessary;
  • The relevant government department.

5.1.4

The local inspection framework will play an important role in reinforcing the ongoing monitoring work of the LSCB. Individual services will be assessed through their own quality regimes. LSCBs should contribute their views about the quality of local activity to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and draw on information, from the established inspection arrangements - led by Ofsted but involving other inspectorates - which include:

  • Annual unannounced inspections on safeguarding and services for looked after children under section 138 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, and
  • A full inspection under section 20 of the Children Act 2004 of safeguarding and services for looked after children in each local authority area at least once every three years.

The LSCB should draw on these.

5.1.5

The local authority is responsible for taking action, if intervention to improve the LSCB's effectiveness and efficiency is necessary.

5.1.6

'Reviews are not ends in themselves. The purpose of these reviews is to identify improvements which are needed and to consolidate good practice. LSCBs and their partner organisations should translate the findings from reviews into programmes of action which lead to sustainable improvements and the prevention of death, serious injury or harm to children.' (Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013 - now archived)


5.2

Individual Agencies' Quality Assurance


5.2.1


All LSCB member agencies should take actions to ensure that the key single and multi-agency duty of the LSCB to safeguard and promote the welfare of children is met.

5.2.2

Effective workload management and information systems should be implemented to:

  • Clearly track responses to referrals;
  • Collect quantitative data on the work of the teams;
  • Plan and resource services to meet local needs.

5.2.3

Management systems should be implemented to ensure:

  • Clear definitions of work that is 'allocated' to include a named worker regularly working with a child in a planned and purposeful way, endorsed by the line manager;
  • Services and support provided is commensurate with need, including allocation of staff;
  • Systems are in place to cover staff sickness, leave and training;
  • Cases are only closed following adequate assessment and review and that the views and wishes of the child and parents have been taken into account;
  • Section 47 enquiries and child protection cases are allocated in LA children's social care to qualified social workers with the skills for the task;
  • Systems are designed to ensure that all relevant professionals are invited to participate in planning and review meetings, including hospital based staff;
  • All practitioners working with children receive regular supervision  from managers with experience and expertise in child care work;
  • Managers scrutinise the work of staff, including reviewing case files and recording decisions.

5.2.4

Routine monitoring and audit systems should be implemented to ensure that these procedures are being followed such as feedback questionnaires, themed audit events, evaluations of core processes like referrals, thresholds, assessments and child protection plans for example.

5.2.5

Senior staff and practitioners should be involved in audits of professional practice and supervision.

5.2.6

Senior managers should regularly review the impact on service delivery of staff vacancies and the employment of temporary staff.


5.3

Unallocated Child Protection Cases


Priority status

5.3.1

All child protection cases must be allocated to a named social worker as a matter of highest priority in all agencies working with children and their families. In local authorities, Directors of Children's Services are responsible for alerting the LSCB to any systemic inability to allocate child protection cases; and for ensuring that there are sufficient human resources to provide the required services for children in need of protection.


Safeguards pending allocation

5.3.2

A children's services first line manager must inform in writing all professionals relevant to the 'outline' or 'agreed' protection plan as well as family members, when a social worker will be allocated to a case and any routine and emergency professional contact arrangements, pending allocation.

5.3.3

Unallocated cases must be:

  • Discussed at allocation meetings;
  • Reported to the child protection manager;
  • Monitored at management meetings to ensure quick allocation and appropriate case management until then.

5.3.4

The first line manager remains accountable for ensuring that:

  • Any statutory or explicit duties (e.g. looked after children reviews or child protection review conferences) are met, deploying duty staff as required;
  • Any immediate issues which arise in the case are resolved;
  • Their manager remains aware that a child protection place is unallocated;
  • The family are kept updated;
  • Regular 'duty' visits are undertaken on unallocated child protection cases.