Self-audit tools and risk registers
A SAB is required by the Care Act 2014 to monitor and evaluate its performance and that of its members in terms of achieving its objectives and implementing its strategic plan. SABs should also monitor and evaluate their own performance in meeting governance procedures and processes and their members’ own internal safeguarding activity through an audit process.
The LGA, ADASS, NHS Confederation and SCIE have published a national set of standards that some SABs have used and some have modified to take account of their own local circumstances (e.g. Yorkshire and Humberside last year adopted a modified version of this tool for all boards within the region to promote consistency).
The London group of SAB chairs has developed a self-assessment tool together with NHS England (London) and endorsed by London NHS SAB members. Other SABs have either developed their own or have used an amended self-audit tool produced by others. These can be multi or single-agency tools and may be used annually or less frequently as the SAB considers fit.
The National Network of SAB Chairs has established some regional subgroups who have used self-audit tools to facilitate benchmarking of SAB performance and to provide guidance on areas of good practice. These can be used to improve performance via peer-learning. The audit tools can also be used as part of a peer review process.
In order to fulfil their functions, SABs need a clear understanding of the risks and threats to the SAB of not meeting their strategic objectives that underpin the general objectives in the Care Act 2014. Some SABs have developed risk registers that apply to their own activity, as opposed to the risk registers of member agencies. Self-audit tools can be used to assist in the writing, monitoring and reviewing of such risk registers.
The risk register and the analysis of the findings of any self-audits can be used to:
- inform the SAB’s annual reports
- support reporting back to member agencies’ internal governance processes
- facilitate joint working with other local multi-agency partnerships, such as health and wellbeing boards, local safeguarding children boards and community safety partnerships.
Issues to consider include:
- Preventing duplication: what relevant data is already being collected, where, when and by whom?
- Does the SAB have the resources to ensure a self-audit adds value to its work?
- Will the detail of each participant’s contribution to the self-audit be made generally available?
- How will the collated returns of the self-audit tool be analysed?
- Does the SAB agree on the purpose and process of any self-audit?
- How does the SAB identify and agree which self-audit tool to use?
- Will the SAB have a risk register? If so, how will it be used and to whom will it be available?
- How, and how often, will the SAB review its risk register?
- What use will the SAB make of its members’ own risk registers?
- How will the SAB want members to evidence their submissions to self-audit tools?
- How will SABs evidence their risk registers?
- Are there similar audit tools or risk registers being used by other local multi-agency partnerships?
- Is there the potential for developing tools and registers that can be used across such partnerships?