Child Protection Service Delivery Standards Audit

Our nationwide audit has collected data from services across the UK responsible for conducting child protection medical assessments within working hours. The audit aims to encourage best practice in service delivery, and provide the data needed to support quality improvement activity in this area.
Last modified
11 September 2023


In 2020, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Child Protection Special Interest Group (CPSIG) published the Good practice service delivery standards for the management of children referred for child protection medical assessments (PDF).

These standards were created following discussions between Named and Designated doctors for safeguarding children, that highlighted variations in the ways in which children, families and professionals experience the process of a medical assessment when there are child protection concerns related to physical abuse and neglect.

The standards set a benchmark for service delivery, and consider the range of processes and procedures that make up the often complex situation of a medical assessment in the context of child protection concerns.

The RCPCH is now conducting a nationwide audit of these standards. Participation in this audit is not a mandatory requirement for services, but is highly encouraged to maximise the utility of the data and benefits of the audit.

Audit aims

The audit aims to:

  • help understand the extent to which the standards are being implemented across the UK
  • explore models of service delivery
  • understand how well current service delivery infrastructure supports teams to meet the standards
  • encourage best practice in service delivery where child protection medical assessments are being conducted.

The audit will allow the identification of areas where improvement in service delivery may be needed, providing the crucial data necessary to support departments which may need additional resource, funding and quality improvement activity at local and national level.

Dr Elaine Burfitt, Audit Clinical Lead


Registration to participate in the audit has now closed. Numbers of registered services by region are displayed below:

Final week of data collection (w/c 10/07/23)
Region Number
England (North East and Yorkshire) 23
England (London) 20
England (Midlands) 17
England (North West) 17
Wales 12
England (South East) 12
England (South West) 12
England (East of England) 11
Scotland 6
Guernsey 1
Isle of Man 1
Northern Ireland 0

Data collection

Our data collection period has now closed. It ran for just over three months, from Friday 31 March 2023 to Friday 14 July 2023.

Services providing child protection medical assessments within working hours (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) who registered to participate in the audit could enter their audit data online via the RCPCH Data Portal.

A full submission guide can be downloaded below, and our walkthrough video is available to watch:

Data entry FAQs

My RCPCH member login doesn't work on the Data Portal?

The Data Portal is independent of other RCPCH sites. Once you have received confirmation that a space has been created for you to enter data for your service, to access the Data Portal, please use your email address as your username, and set a password of your choice via the 'Need a new password' button on the login page.

For questions that start ‘Our written service arrangements state that…’ or similar, what if our service does normally comply with the indicator mentioned, but we do not have the written service documentation in place for it? How should we respond?

Much of the audit is looking to understand the infrastructure and foundations for service delivery that are currently in place. We hope to eventually conduct future rounds of audit which will address what is taking place clinically, but for this current audit, with questions like these, we are looking to know whether the standards are reflected in a service’s working documentation – for example, if a new member of the team came in, would they have a document to refer to or a proforma to use that would standardise service delivery in line with the 2020 published standards.

So we are encouraging services to answer in a very matter-of-fact way - if the answer to a question isn’t a 100% Yes, do submit your response as No.

A response of 'No' translates to a 'Not yet met', as you’ll see on the ‘Summary’ and ‘Action plan’ tabs, and are intended to be recognised as spotlights on areas, which for some services may just mean highlighting where service documentation may need to be updated for example.

We will be clear with this within our reporting narrative.

Analysis and reporting

The data collection platform provides some real-time reporting. As services submit their data entry forms, summaries of responses are available to view by ICB, region/country, and nationally, enabling live identification of areas of achievement and areas for improvement.

Now that data collection has closed, we will be performing analyses on the data received at individual service, Trust/Health Board/Health provider organisation, ICS, region, country and national levels. We will analyse results for each item separately, but also aim to perform analyses to find out whether there are relationships between items.

In late autumn 2023, following analysis, each participating service will receive their own individual report. A national report will be formed from all participating services' data.

Our pilot audit report is available below showing the audit's early findings.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the audit, please email Karina Green, Data Manager at