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LancashireChildren's Social Care Procedures Manual

Inspection Audit Framework

This chapter was added to the manual in April 2017.

This chapter is currently under review.


  1. Why do File Audits?
  2. What is New about File Audits?
  3. Who is Involved in File Audits?
  4. Appendix 1: File Audit Tool

1. Why do File Audits?

  • The purpose of a robust file audit framework is to ensure that positive outcomes for vulnerable children and young people in Lancashire are achieved through high quality social are practice and compliance with procedures;
  • File audits have been highlighted as a requirement following the Climbie enquiry, the use of file audits to identify improvements to service and practice are an expectation of Ofsted. Audits are repeatedly suggested in Serious Case Review action plans to review practice;
  • They provide a learning opportunity to review whether or not the record and decisions made are accurately documented and appropriate; they can highlight strong areas of practice and deficits;
  • Information analysed from audits can provide the basis for an action plan to further strengthen practice and continuously improve service;
  • They can provide a discussion starting point for case supervision;
  • Case file audits are part of a year-long calendar of audit activity in DCYP that aims to drive improvements in quality and service, thus improving the lives of children and young people.

2. What is New about File Audits?

A new file audit tool has been devised that allows a tailored approach to file auditing. At present this is a Word based document, but a case to make this available in Lancashire Children's System (LCS) is in progress. See Appendix 1: File Audit Tool.

  • The Auditing Manager chooses which sections are relevant, there are questions relating to compliance/checking and quality. This is in anticipation of any change that may be brought in as a result of the Munro review;
  • It is easier to build completing file audits into work that you are already doing as a Manager, than to view this as an additional duty, for instance you would normally review a case in preparation for supervision or as part of a case discussion with a worker when decision making;
  • To support file audits there are quality practice standards and new recording standards;
  • File audits need to become an integral part of social care work;
  • The sections in the file audit tool are:
    • Contact and referral;
    • Assessment;
    • Child in need;
    • Safeguarding including missing from home;
    • Children Looked After;
    • Pathway Planning;
    • Private Fostering.

3. Who is Involved in File Audits?

  • Each month, Tier 1, 2 and 3 audits are undertaken to test compliance, quality and outcomes;
  • These audits are completed by a range of Children's Social Care managers.

Appendix 1: File Audit Tool

Click here to view Appendix 1: File Audit Tool.