Top ten tips for choosing your customised safeguarding audit tool

All Safeguarding Boards have a requirement to check the quality of their safeguarding and early help practice and processes to ensure children/adults are protected from harm.

To correlate knowledgeable insights into what is working well and what needs improving in local safeguarding arrangements and practice, you will need an auditing tool that not only delivers the flexibility and integration you require but insightful reports and action plans to work with in the future.

Here are our ten top tips for ensuring you get the best from your auditing tool

1.  Compliant for both internal and external audits

Make sure that you have the ability to use the new system for all internal and external audits including Sections 11, 175’s and SVGA* and ensure the system is accessible to your external stakeholders. Don’t underestimate the development needed for your supplier to understand and action this statute.

2.  Responsive and fully integrated.

It goes without saying that your new auditing tool should integrate fully with your system and be responsive on all devices. Asking your partners to change and fully embrace a new system will be difficult to do if they aren’t able to access or understand the system.

3.  Fully branded to your specifications.

All Boards have different challenges that lead to diverse needs and requirements.  Make sure that your software provider understands your sector i.e. has proven experience in developing relationships and solutions for Safeguarding Boards.  They will also know how to seamlessly assimilate your organisation’s image and branding.

4.  Use of your existing website address.

There’s no reason why you should have to change your preferred domain name.  It’s important to maintain your digital space and not to lose contact with stakeholders or people that need help.

5.  Accessible to all

The Government introduced new guidelines in September 2018† to regulate public sector websites and mobile apps to meet accessibility standards.  All public sector websites will now have to be accessible to all users, especially those with disabilities.  Functionality and ease of use are key requirements for ensuring your auditing tool is accessible to all and with the new legislation, you will need to be compliant too.

6.  Tailored solutions

Look for a provider that offers multiple question and response options for you to pick from for each audit, including the choice of asking for evidence, action points and rating charts.

7.  Save valuable time and budget

With all the other things you have to complete on your ‘To-do’ list, auditing can be seen as unwelcome distraction. Choose a transparent system that’s easy to use and accessible to all levels of computer competency.  Save time and money with an online based system that allows respondents to be emailed their required audit and all follow-up communications, including reminders and confirmations.

8.  User friendly and reliable

Depending on the complexity of the audit, you may not have the time or inclination to complete the audit in one go.  Check that the system offers a ‘Stop and Save’ functionality for respondents who are unable to complete the audit in one sitting.  And make sure that all the responses that are relevant the next year are saved, so the respondent doesn’t have to start from scratch again.

9.  Detailed reports with meaningful insights

Insist on extensive reports by audit, organisation type and respondent, including a visual spidergram to compare self-assessment rating versus Board rating.

10. Training and support

So, you’ve invested in this auditing tool that will take you to the next level of detailed reporting but will it be too difficult to use?  Check out the training and support package your provider is offering.  They should be able to offer comprehensive training for all levels of competency and an assurance that if problems arise, as they undoubtebly will, they are there in support. ††


*Section 175 of the Education Act 2002  came into force  June 1st, 2004.  It created an explicit duty to strengthen arrangements for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

Section 11 of the Children Act 2004. Places duties on a range of organisations, agencies 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.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006 was passed to help avoid harm, or risk of harm, by preventing people who are deemed unsuitable to work with children and vulnerable adults from gaining access to them through their work.

† ‘The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018’.

†† Phew offers free support.

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