The Safeguarding Partnership will be the main commissioner of multi-agency audits across the spectrum of Child Protection, Child in Need, Looked After Children and Early Intervention cases. The Safeguarding Partnership has established a regular programme of multi-agency audits. The audit programme should be decided for each year and publicised. Audit priorities will be identified in accordance with issues affecting the local area, with thematic multi-agency audits running quarterly, a more general multi-agency audit running annually, Practice Learning Reviews created and offered according to need and a program of feedback and improvement running in conjunction with the Partnership Training Manager. In addition, the Safeguarding Partnership is responsible for the required annual Section 11 and Section 175 audits and a cycle of ongoing thematic audits as the need is identified through the identification of trends within the local area and more widely across the North West.
PURPOSE OF MULTI AGENCY AUDITING
Priorities may be identified through the following routes:
- Serious Case Reviews.
- Performance indicators.
- Drilling down into known areas of concern, including those highlighted through previous audits.
- Feedback from learning and development, management forums, or policy implementation.
- Also, general audits within a category of case may be undertaken to establish a baseline assessment of performance.
The role of the Partnership is crucial in determining the attitude of agencies towards improving practice on a multi-agency basis. Effective multi-agency working through the Partnership, a robust and systematic approach to quality assurance and the modelling of a cycle of continuous learning through constructive challenge will establish a culture which will permeate through to front-line practice. Undertaking multi-agency audits is a resource-intensive activity but will pay dividends in terms of service improvement if conducted in a robust manner.
Multi-agency audits should be solution-focussed and conducted in a spirit of open learning with the intention of further improving outcomes for children. Action points from audit will be rooted in practice, so any changes arising are more likely to be owned and complied with by practitioners.
Using audit as a cycle of improvement and not as a way of allocating blame will also have a beneficial effect on everyday interactions between practitioners from different agencies and will encourage challenge on 'live cases' to take place in an open-minded way. With this in mind, the training and feedback from audit workshops will encourage relationship building and development of strong working relationships across agencies.