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West Yorkshire Safeguarding Training Partnership- learning together on self-assessment and audit

Added: 10/05/2022

Voluntary Action Leeds

Over the last 2 years Voluntary Action Leeds has been working in a Big Lottery funded partnership with our colleagues from Community Action Bradford and District, Third Sector Leaders Kirklees, VSI Alliance Calderdale, Wakefield Young Lives Consortium and York CVS to support improving practice in children’s safeguarding in West Yorkshire’s third sector, promote NCVO’s safeguarding resource and learn from each other and strengthen our relationships.

It was through these newly developed relationships that we realised that our colleagues at Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Partnership were working with the other West Yorkshire authorities to develop a new single ‘gateway’ (a web-based tool) for organisations to complete a ‘section 11’ self-assessment (an assessment of safeguarding effectiveness).

We’d heard some concerns that third sector organisations didn’t understand the rationale for taking a West Yorkshire approach and that the new system might add extra workload to already stretched teams. We have a great relationship with Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership, so a couple of conversations led to our partnership giving feedback on the new tool, leading to some amendments to the wording of key questions. We also changed the name of the Section 11 to something more meaningful that would be better understood by all our partners and renamed the section 11 self-assessment to Organisational Safeguarding Assessment.

Welcome | Organisational Safeguarding Assessment (safeguardingorg.uk)

This opportunity was great and very welcome, but we knew we needed to get the word out further….

When a small pot of funding became available from NAVCA, the timing was just right as the new web-based tool had recently been launched. We approached Phil Coneron at the LSCP and set up an online seminar/workshop attended by 21 participants from right across the patch.

So, what did we learn?

  • Having a single self-assessment tool for the whole of West Yorkshire will enable greater consistency amongst our safeguarding partners
  • For those organisations that span more than one local authority area, they will only need to complete one assessment
  • Once a self-assessment is complete, users can log back on at any time and review their assessment and add any improvements to their assessment as required.
  • Whilst all organisations in receipt of statutory funding providing services for children or adults safeguarding have a duty to complete the self-assessment, it will remain voluntary for other third sector organisations
  • The discussion showed that third sector organisation really understand that, even if they don’t receive statutory funding, this is an important way to demonstrate to themselves and to their users that they understand safeguarding and take it seriously
  • The self-assessment will generate an action plan for users drawing through any areas of their assessment identified as being ‘amber’ or ‘red’ – we should all welcome having a tool that helps identify any areas for improvement
  • Whilst statutory partners will use the self-assessment to identify and address areas for growth practice the self-assessment has no automatic signposting to resources or sources of support – our partnership think there might be a role for us developing increasingly targeted support.
  • Some organisations were initially concerned that this could be come an intrusive ‘monitoring’ tool – but they left encouraged that it really is about supporting self-reflection and improvement
  • There’s still a niggling concern for some organisations that the self -assessment might be too resource intensive – but participants were encouraged by Phil’s commitment to ongoing development and review.

Thank you NAVCA for enabling this first step in sharing learning about this exciting new approach to improving standards. We know that we still have much to do with our partners supporting organisations to engage with the self-assessment and, importantly, in understanding the gaps in safeguarding practice so that we can co-produce solutions – but we’ve made a positive start on the journey.

Voluntary Action Leeds

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