National survey by Phew provides insight into children’s safeguarding audit practices

Date: Wednesday, 07th Feb 2024 | Category: Audits, General, Safeguarding

The results of a survey into children’s safeguarding audits have revealed fascinating trends in frequency, distribution and tool usage across different audit types.

We launched the survey in order to assess child safeguarding practices across the UK. It was conducted online between October and December 2023 and respondents included child and joint safeguarding partnerships. The survey incorporated both quantitative and qualitative data, to provide a broad view of the varied landscape of child protection efforts across the country.

The survey delved into the frequency of Section 11, Section 175/157, and Case Audits and Rapid Reviews, the variety of tools used for distribution of audits, and the challenges faced.

Section 11 Audits

The survey revealed distinct patterns in the approach to Section 11 audits. The majority of respondents (63%) said they undertake these audits every two years, with the most common month for distributing them being September (32%), followed by May and June (14% each).

Just over half of respondents (54%) use software tools to conduct the audits, with 21% using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Around 17% still use manual paper-based methods.

There were key challenges reported with these types of audits, including issues with capacity, communication and engagement, process and system issues, timeliness and gaining buy-in from stakeholders.

National Audit Survey


Section 175/157 Audits

These types of audits are usually conducted annually (59%), with September being the most common month for issuing them (44%).

The majority (48%) of respondents use software tools to conduct these audits.

The majority of responses (45%) indicated that these types of audits are managed by the safeguarding partnership.

Key challenges reported with these types of audits included ensuring responses from schools, triangulation of data, capacity and time constraints, managing a large number of schools, and aligning the audit with the new Keeping Children Safe in Education publications.

Case Audits and Rapid Reviews

The frequency of these types of audits depends on local circumstances. The survey results showed a range from one a year to 50 a year, with most falling within the range of one to 12 per year.

Unlike the previous two types of audit, manual paper-based methods are the most prominent (65%) method of distribution, followed by Excel or Google Sheets.

Safeguarding partnerships most commonly take the lead in managing Case Audits (91%).

The survey results can be used by safeguarding partnerships to better understand how their safeguarding auditing practices compare to other partnerships, and to help them to implement best practice methods.

Read the full survey results here. If you would like to add your voice to the next survey, please get in touch at

Would you like to find out how the Phew Audit System can help with your auditing needs? We can provide a free demonstration at your convenience. Please get in touch at or telephone 01234 779050.