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Agenda Item No 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Audit Committee 24th February 2015

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Audit Committee - WAO Local Authority Arrangements to Support Safeguarding of Children

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         The purpose of the report is to present to Members the findings of the Wales Audit Office review regarding Local Authority Arrangements to Support Safeguarding Children.

Recommendation

1.         THAT Members note the Wales Audit Office report attached as Appendix A.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.         To keep the Audit Committee informed and to ensure Members of the Committee are fully aware of the findings and conclusions of this review.

Background

2.         During the period March to May 2014, the Wales Audit Office completed a review of the assurance and accountability arrangements of the Vale of Glamorgan Council (the Council) for ensuring that safeguarding policies and procedures are in place and are being adhered to. 

3.         The study examined what the Council itself has done to seek assurances that its arrangements to support safeguarding are effective by reviewing how the Council is discharging its safeguarding responsibilities at all levels.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         The study focussed on answering the following question:  Do the Council's governance and management arrangements provide assurance that children are safeguarded?

5.         The main questions that the review sought to answer were:

  • Are there clear governance, accountability and management arrangements for overseeing whether the Council is meeting its safeguarding responsibilities to Children?
  • Is the Council monitoring and evaluating appropriate information, which provides assurance that it is meeting its safeguarding responsibilities to Children?
  • Are assurance systems operating effectively?

6.         The report concludes that the arrangements for governance, accountability, management, monitoring, evaluating, identifying and acting on improvements is overall adequate but some improvements could be made.  The WAO have also concluded that overall whistleblowing arrangements are sound but could be improved by providing training for officers and members, and evaluating awareness of the revised and updated corporate Whistleblowing Policy. 

7.         A copy of the Wales Audit Office report on Local Authority Arrangements to Support Safeguarding of Children is attached at Appendix A.  The report makes three recommendations for improvement as shown below:

  • Ensure that the role and responsibilities of the LADO are clarified and understood across the Council.
  • Develop a Corporate Safeguarding Policy that clearly specifies roles, responsibilities and procedures for safeguarding and takes into account local circumstances.
  • Ensure all elected members and staff who come into contact with children on a regular basis receive training on safeguarding and child protection issues and the Council's corporate policy on safeguarding.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.         None as a direct consequence of this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9.         None directly from this report

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.      Provision of an adequate and effective Internal Audit function is a legal requirement under the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2005 as amended and now as contained within the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014.

Crime and Disorder Implications

11.      Pursuing initiatives to prevent, detect and deter crime is encompassed within the terms of reference under which the audit function operates.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

12.      None as a direct consequence of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

13.      The work of audit is intended to assist in the achievement of all corporate and service objectives.

Policy Framework and Budget

14.      The proposals in this report are in accordance with the policy framework and budget. 

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

15.      No further consultation is proposed.

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Alan Jenkins - Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer

 

Officers Consulted

External Audit Manager - Grant Thornton UK LLP

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies - Managing Director