Mari Eggins VCS rep on the Missing and CSE Sub Group of the Safeguarding board recently posed the question about the expectations of the overall Board on voluntary sector partners to return an annual Section 11, where agencies working with children and young people self-assess how well they are meeting the requirement to safeguard and ensure the welfare of their clients.

A few years ago voluntary organisations were invited to submit a return which was assessed by the Local Authority. This was a voluntary process which was very helpful in terms of auditing and improving performance.

However, we now understand that the local authority does not have capacity to assess these and does not require or expect them from VCSE partners. Instead commissioned services undergo a lengthy safeguarding audit as part of the tendering, and subsequent contract review, process which means that they are covered by the Council’s own section 11 return.