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1.3.5 Quality Audit Procedure

AMENDMENT

This chapter has been significantly updated throughout in October 2016 and contains new scaling guidance based on the ‘Signs of Safety’ model. It should be re-read in its entirety.


Contents

  1. Principles
  2. Audit Tools Including Timescales
  3. Role Responsibilities

    Appendix 1: Scaling Guidance


1. Principles

This procedure is specifically concerned with the quality audit arrangements for children in receipt of Local Authority services including Fostering and Adoption services. The primary purpose of auditing is to ensure that all staff work to the highest standards so that children achieve the best outcomes.

Quality audits involve reviewing the case record. Findings can then be collated into reports that provide an overview and recommendations for improving practice. If an auditor wished to consult with staff during the audit this is permissible (i.e. to clarify matters).

The purpose of the quality audit is to:

  1. Assure that the voice of the child is heard, recorded and used to influence the work undertaken as far as possible;
  2. Assure that the child’s journey is as timely and effective as possible and that all activity is directed to improving outcomes for each and every child;
  3. Assure the quality of work undertaken including appropriate multi-agency involvement;
  4. Give positive feedback for good quality work which has helped to make a difference to a child;
  5. Assure all basic data items are recorded and that the quality of recording is in line with agreed recording standards. The child's record should tell the story of the child's journey;
  6. Promotion of an open learning culture through reviewing professional practice;
  7. Assure that services to, for example Foster Carers, are reviewed through this process.

Family Satisfaction Survey

An important aspect of the audit is to ask the child, young person, adult carer, family member or carer about their view on what is happening. As best practice you should ask the key worker to let the family know they will receive the call and at the same time. Check the contact details on Mosaic are correct.

A child’s record is held electronically with minimal paper records being held, e.g. for precious documents. The electronic record is the vehicle by which the organisation can be held to account for interventions and services delivered. This record is of paramount importance for service users as it is a record of each child or young person's personal history and records should be produced bearing in mind this potential audience in future years. For Foster Carers and Adopters additional paper records may exist.

The operational Quality Audit programme will supplement case auditing undertaken by commissioned / internal and external auditors, and should take place as part of line management arrangements and oversight. The routine quality audit programme will be carried out by first line manager/supervisors. Additional audits will be undertaken by senior managers and those with a quality assurance function.

Auditing is one aspect of management oversight cases will be audited using the Lincolnshire audit tools (see Section 2, Audit Tools including Timescales).

The audit tools are designed to ensure that:

  1. Key activities have taken place, and where relevant have been completed to agreed timescales;
  2. This is evidenced using the correct documentation or within the electronic system;
  3. Concerns about practice, unresolved safeguarding issues or threshold decision making are identified;
  4. Supervisors and employees can access scaling guidance. Please refer to Appendix 1: Scaling Guidance.

The auditor will advise the practitioner that an audit has taken place and direct them to respond to the recommendations (completed electronically through MOSAIC). The worker will utilise the Quality Audit Response to record this activity. The Quality Audit response can and should be also utilised by line managers to ensure that the audits' recommendations are resolved.

All quality audits are recorded through MOSAIC. The Performance Assurance Team and Business Support service will assist with the monitoring and reporting of case audit activity.

Team Managers are responsible for ensuring that the audit programme is followed.

The Performance Assurance Team and the Business Support service will assist with the monitoring and reporting of case audit activity.


2. Audit Tools Including Timescales

The following Service specific audit tools outline the timescales of when a case audit should take place and the relevant audit tool to use:

2.1

Generic Audit Tool – Used for Peer Audits including Audits for LAC (bar Foster Carers & Adoptive Carers)

  i.  Monthly Peer Audits by Team Managers/CSM/AD and Director; Monthly Peer PS Audits;
  ii. Permissively as needed;
  iii. Annual Audits (no case should be open for longer than one year without having been audited).

2.2

Children's Services Closure Record (which is the closure audit)

  i. All services – Closure audit for all cases prior to closure. Where actions are needed prior to closure this should be immediately done so closure may happen.

2.3

Quality Audit (Carers)

  i. 12 months after 1st presentation at Panel;
  ii. Annually thereafter.

2.4

Quality Audit (TAC)

  i. As required.

2.5

Quality Audit Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) Review

  i. Ongoing.

2.6

Quality Audit (CP Chair)

  i. Ongoing.


Quality Audit Response

On MOSAIC the auditor will send a 'QA Response' step to the worker and a notification to the manager/supervisor. The worker should complete their response within 5 working days which must then be authorised by their Practice Supervisor.

The auditor will send an email (with the attached QA) to the worker and the Practice Supervisor. If restorative actions are identified then a QA Response is to be completed addressing the actions needed. Where there are no restorative actions, the receiving team should put an entry in the QA Response dropdown box headline "QA (date) received" (thereby acknowledging receipt).

It is the responsibility of the Team Manager to ensure Quality Audit Responses are attended to.

Scaling

Please refer to Appendix 1: Scaling Guidance. The Scaling is based on Signs of Safety.

Urgent Findings

Should an auditor establish a serious safeguarding issue or other urgent or significant matter, this should be drawn to the attention of the relevant team managers immediately. It is advisory to make such a call if you scale the audit at 0/1/2.


3. Role Responsibilities

First Line Supervisors will undertake routine Audits within the expected timescales.

Practice Supervisors (PS's) are required to audit a case each month which is managed by the other Practice Supervisor, in the same team. So for example, where there are 3 Practice Supervisors in one team, each Practice Supervisor will audit 2 cases per month (one from each colleagues' Practice Supervisor) so in such a team there will be 6 audits per month. Case audit tool are likely to be the preferred tool to be used. It is the responsibility of Team Managers to ensure that this arrangement is embedded in each team.

If there is only one PS in the team it is advisable for the Team Manager to Audit a case also.

Practice Supervisors/managers should also complete the Contact with Families section to ask the family and specifically the child whenever possible for their views on what has been happening.

Team Managers, Children's Service Managers, Assistant Directors and the Director will undertake one Generic Audit per month. These audits will be peer reviews, i.e. not with the Team Managers own team.

Children's Service Managers and Team Managers may of course wish to conduct additional audits within their own sphere of responsibility, for example to identify themes of activity, review the work of a specific member of staff or as a learning opportunity.

Please note that areas or examples of good practice should be identified to and with staff and shared as relevant.

Assistant Directors, Directors, Lead Members may also utilise the Audit models as appropriate during Safeguarding Assurance Days.


Appendix 1: Scaling Guidance

Click here to see Appendix 1: Scaling Guidance

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