Section 11 of the Children Act 2004

 

What is Section 11 of the Children Act?

Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 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.

 

Which Organisations Does this Affect?

Section 11 places a duty on:

  • Local authorities 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;
  • 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 Probation Service;
  • Governors/Directors of Prisons and Young Offender Institutions;
  • Voluntary and private sector organisations;
  • Early years and child care;
  • Faith organisations;
  • Directors of Secure Training Centres; and
  • Youth Offending Teams/Services

 

What Should These Organisations Have in Place?

These organisations should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including:

  • A clear line of accountability for the commissioning and/or provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • A senior board level lead to take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements;
  • A culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in  individual decisions and the development of services;
  • Arrangements which set out clearly the processes for sharing information, with other professionals and with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB);
  • A designated professional lead (or, for health provider organisations, named professionals) for safeguarding. Their role is to support other professionals in their agencies to recognise the needs of children, including responding to possible abuse or neglect. Designated professional roles should always be explicitly defined in job descriptions. Professionals should be given sufficient time, funding, supervision and support to fulfil their child welfare and safeguarding responsibilities effectively;
  • Safe recruitment practices for individuals whom the organisation will permit to work regularly with children, including policies on when to obtain a criminal record check;
  • Appropriate supervision and support for staff, including undertaking safeguarding training:
  • Employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role;
  • Staff should be given a mandatory induction, which includes familiarisation with child protection responsibilities and procedures to be followed if anyone has any concerns about a child’s safety or welfare; and
  • All professionals should have regular reviews of their own practice to ensure they improve over time.
  • Clear policies in line with those from the LSCB for dealing with allegations against people who work with children. An allegation may relate to a person who works with children who has:
    • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
    • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
    • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.
  • In addition:
    • County level and unitary local authorities should have a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to be involved in the management and oversight of individual cases. The LADO should provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations, liaising with the police and other agencies and monitoring the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible, consistent with a thorough and fair process;
    • Any allegation should be reported immediately to a senior manager within the organisation. The LADO should also be informed within one working day of all allegations that come to an employer’s attention or that are made directly to the police; and
    • If an organisation removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work such as looking after children (or would have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to children, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring
       

 

To make it easy for organisations to identify whether they have the necessary safeguarding arrangements in place the LSCB has created an online Section 11 audit tool.

You will need to register on the system the first time that you use it. Just follow the instructions on screen. To access the online Section 11 tool click on the button at the top right hand side of the screen.