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Section 11 and 175 Audit

What is Section 11/ 175?

The WSCB is the key statutory body for co-ordinating and ensuring the effectiveness of arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in Wirral. It is the duty of the WSCB to hold agencies to account in terms of their safe-guarding arrangements and practices.

The WSCB uses a variety of ways to test the strength of safeguarding arrangements across agencies in Wirral but one of the key ways is by the use of an annual safeguarding audit called the Section 11 Audit (for agencies) and a biennial Section 175 Audit (for schools and colleges).

Section 11 was issued under the Children Act (2004) and has been reinforced in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015. Section 11 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.

Section 11 places a duty on:

  • local authorities and any services they commission, and district councils that provide children’s and other types of services, including children’s and adult social care services, public health, housing, sport, culture and leisure services, licensing authorities and youth services;
  • Schools and colleges (under Sections 175 and 157 of the Education Act 2002).
  • NHS organisations, including the NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups, NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts;
  • the police, including police and crime commissioners and the chief officer of each police force in England and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in London;
  • the British Transport Police;
  • The UK Border Agency (and under Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009)
  • Housing Authorities (and under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004)
  • the Probation Service;
  • Governors/Directors of Prisons and Young Offender Institutions;
  • Directors of Secure Training Centres; and
  • Youth Offending Teams/Services (and under Section 38 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998).

The advice of the WSCB for agencies is if you are delivering services in a position of trust directly or indirectly to children and young people you must complete the Section 11/ 175 safeguarding audit.

Findings and Learning from the 2016 Section 11/175 audit

This year, the Section 11 audit was completed online for the second time. Following feedback from agencies, the WSCB developed 4 variations of the two core audits (Section 11 and Section 175) to ensure that the questions were meaningful and appropriate for all organisations. These audits include versions for; Alternative Education Providers, Care Homes, Early Years Providers and Health providers.

206 completed audits were returned which is an increase of 31% in comparison to last year.
– Overall, 84% of organisations who registered completed their audit by the deadline (last year, 81% of organisations who registered completed their audit)

– Last year, 96% of organisations who completed the audit met or exceeded the target grade (grade 3) and 4% (6 organisations) did not meet the target. The WSCB analysed these audits and found that 5 agencies had scored their answers lower than their evidence suggested. For example questions were graded as Grade 2 however their written response and attached    evidence supported the standard fully (Grade 4).

– The WSCB offered support to each of the organisations to discuss any weaknesses identified in their safeguarding arrangements. The WSCB supported the agencies to compile an action plan for their service and to access WSCB multi agency training.

– The WSCB met with an agency who had identified gaps in their safeguarding arrangements and provided support and advice in regards to staff training, tools for gaining views of children and where to find policies and procedures.  Following the meeting, the agency drafted an action plan which they updated as part of this year’s audit. All of the actions  set last year have been fully completed.

– This year, 99% of organisations who completed the audit achieved an overall grade of 2 (highest possible grade). There were 2 agencies who did not achieve grade 2 and their identified weaknesses were: Safeguarding procedures, Safeguarding training, Managing allegations, Voice of children and young people

– The WSCB will make contact with these agencies and offer support to  develop an action plan for the forthcoming year including an offer of multi agency training. The agencies will be asked to update the WSCB in relation to progress made to the actions and to provide evidence.

– This year, the audits have revealed a universal commitment to safeguarding in Wirral and affirms that children are being appropriately safeguarded by agencies across the borough.

– There has been an increase in participation from agencies to the effect of 31% and almost every agency achieved the highest possible grade for their audit overall (99%). This is a positive result and an improvement in comparison to last year (96%).

The Section 11 extract from the Annual Report can be downloaded below:

The poster below illustrates the key strengths identified in this year’s audit.

The poster below includes the learning from Section 11/175 audits

Follow up and future development

99% of organisations who completed the audit achieved grade 2 (highest possible grade). There were only 2 agencies who did not achieve grade 2. Both of these agencies achieved grade 1 which is defined as ‘the agency is working towards the standard/indicator’. The WSCB will make contact with these agencies to provide support with developing an action plan to address the weaknesses identified in their audit and will request that the WSCB is updated with the progress made to the actions throughout the year.

Staff from the WSCB including members from the Performance Committee are available to attend agencies forums and meetings to talk through the findings from individual audit reports and develop action plans. Performance Committee representatives will also have the opportunity to review any audits completed by agencies from their service area. The WSCB plan to retain the same template for the next Section 11 audit (currently live) and the next Section 175 audit (live from March 2018) to provide year on year comparison  to standards. This will also allow agencies to log in and update their information each year and to review and record their progress to actions  set during the previous year. The WSCB plan to undertake thematic audits throughout the year using the virtual college as a vehicle to capture responses from agencies working with children in Wirral. The themes for audit will coincide with local and national awareness days and events planned throughout the year.


How do I complete the audit?

The safeguarding audits are completed using an online audit tool that is completely secure. The tool allows agencies to grade themselves against safeguarding standards and to identify areas for development and write an action plan to support future progress.

Agencies can also attach evidence which supports the grades they award themselves, for example a copy of the safeguarding policy. The audit can be completed bit by bit and progress is automatically saved when the user log off. When completed, the audit is automatically saved and securely shared with the WSCB for review.

How do I register for the audit?

  • Agencies can self register on the audit site which will automatically generate log in credentials. To register please follow this link:
  • Alternatively, please contact Kat Ryan with your name, e-mail address and agency/organisation.

Is there training or support?

Full technical support is provided by the Virtual College who have developed the online audit system, and audit user manuals are available below and when you log in.

You can also download the WSCB guidance to the Section 11/175 safeguarding audit and a poster with useful tips:


What is the deadline?

This year, the WSCB will be testing the safeguarding arrangements of organisations in Wirral using the Section 11 audit. School’s, early years and Alternative Education Providers will be able to log in throughout the year and update their audit and action plan and the WSCB will formally release the next audit in March 2018.

The 2017/18 audit closed on Friday 14th July 2017. 

Initial findings from the audit will be published in the WSCB Annual Report in September 2017. Statutory partner agencies will be invited to attend a multi-agency panel in the Autumn to talk through their individual findings and action plan.