Cumbria Local Safeguarding Children Board monitors multi agency performance management and quality assurance. We do this through the Performance Management and Quality Assurance sub group (PMQAG), which is attended by senior representatives from the partnership.
As set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 LSCB’s should at a minimum ‘quality assure practice, including through joint audits of case files’. Cumbria LSCB does not see audit as a one off event but as part of a continuous cycle of improvement.
The PMQAG commission the three local Quality Assurance Groups (QAGs) to conduct quality assurance activity, the LSCB has established a regular programme of multi-agency audits. The topics of which are determined by performance data, quality information and responses to recommendations from inspections and serious case reviews and include areas of Child Protection, Child in Need and Early Help cases. The multi-agency audits have a clear focus on outcomes, and the impact of agencies in achieving those outcomes. The impact on the child is always central to the process.
It enables the LSCB to carry out its function of monitoring the effectiveness of what is done to keep children and young people safe in Cumbria.
The outcomes from each of the audits are analysed and drawn together into a report. The reports draw out key themes; identify areas for practice improvement and makes recommendations. The process also enables us to identify the learning points from areas which are working well and further develop inter-agency working. The LSCB Business Group has ownership of the recommendations and the key themes and the loop closes when the feedback goes back to the local QAGs.
The information is then fed into policy and practice protocols and learning and development activity. The learning from quality audits is implemented across all of the partner agencies. Learning from quality audit summaries are published on the Cumbria LSCB website.