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S. 175 Audit

Annual Safeguarding Audit


The Local Authority and Local Safeguarding Partnership have a legal duty to safeguarding children and young people within their boundaries.

S. 175 of the Education Act 2002 provides a legal duty on the Local Authority to make arrangements for ensuring that their education functions are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. This is a direct duty on maintained settings, however also has been interpreted to ensure that this covers all education establishments within the Local Authority jurisdiction.

The audit is a proportionate mechanism to ensure that education settings are complaint with their statutory duties and Local Safeguarding Partnership processes and procedures. In Bristol, it is the Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership - Education Reference Group, co-constructed by colleagues from Education workforce and facilitated by Bristol City Council Safeguarding in Education Team.

There are other ways in which the s.175 duty is implemented. This could be via: 

  • responding to complaints or identified deficits,
  • commissioned safeguarding reviews,
  • and/or learning from statutory reviews (Child Safeguarding Reviews, Adult Safeguarding Reviews, Domestic Homicide Reviews)

Regulatory bodies (for example Ofsted, The Regions Group, and the Department for Education) can seek assurance from the Local Safeguarding Partnership and the Local Authority to inform their judgments around the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements in a setting. 


How does this help the Local Safeguarding Partnership?

The Audit tools and associated resources is curated by the Safeguarding in Education Team

The results and governance of the process are overseen by the Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership Education Reference Group - a partnership of sector representatives, the Local Authority and representatives from other relevant colleagues. 

The results assist with the partnership supporting settings to target and commission resources where there are systemic/sector deficits or areas of vulnerability.  

From 2022-24 - we are separating the need for data collection away from the s.175 Audit. Whilst the Audit tool is a useful mechanism to collect data, the need to collect safeguarding data from schools should happen at meaningful times of the year. A working group has been set up to consider the best way to achieve this and support a standardised approach to using this. Click here to access the KBSP Annual Education Data Drop 

Legal context

The Children Act 1989 places a duty on local authorities to promote and safeguard the welfare of children in need in their area.

The Local Safeguarding Partnership has a legal duty under s.10 Children Act 2004 which requires each local authority to make arrangements to promote co-operation between the authority, each of the authority’s relevant partners, and such other persons or bodies who exercise functions or are engaged in activities in relation to children in the local authority’s area, as the authority considers appropriate. The arrangements are to be made with a view to improving the wellbeing of children in the authority’s area – which includes protection from harm and neglect alongside other outcomes.

Educations Acts

In addition to the duties to the Local Authority and by proxy the Local Safeguarding Partnership the following laws put duties directly onto the different types of education settings: 


All education settings should engage with this process as a relevant agency of the Local Safeguarding Partnership, there is an expectation that governing bodies, senior leaders and the setting's designated safeguarding lead complete their audit. 

Feedback from the workforce has requested that the previous iterations of the audit were unwieldy and did not support setting's leadership to engage meaningfully with the exercise.  

The newest version is: 

  • More accessible. We have moved from using Smart Survey to a more basic use of Excel spreadsheet. This will enable setting's leaders to delegate different sections to colleagues where possible. 
  • Shorter. The previous audit was 411 questions, the new audit is only 87 questions. 
  • More meaningful. The new tool helps those gage what 'good' practice looks like. We have provided standardised descriptions to support development of exemplary practice rather than just 'ticking a box' or just completing a task as quickly as possible. 
  • More supportive - we acknowledge that we can't all be subject matter experts. Along side providing knowledge and expectations to colleagues we have also sourced documents and resources that can help us reflect and develop our practice. 
  • Provides evidence for Ofsted - in the new format, settings can plot their journeys as to what they have currently and where they aiming to go.



The Safeguarding in Education Team were attempting to create a shared platform to make a deadline redundant. Sadly this was not been able to progress due to technological difficulties. The span of this next audit will stem from 2022-2024. 


Audit Tool. 

The tool is hosted on SharePoint as an Excel Spreadsheet. The Safeguarding in Education Team have already sent copies for your setting's 

Previous outcomes and reports. 

S.175 Audit 2020-21Outcomes.pptx

Bristol S.175 Report 2021-22.pdf