Online Safety Audit
According to Keeping Children Safe in Education, “Schools and colleges should consider carrying out an annual review of their approach to online safety, supported by an annual risk assessment that considers and reflects the risks their children face.” This document is designed to help schools complete such an assessment.
It is vital that an online safety audit is neither treated as a tickbox exercise, nor viewed as a static report: it should be a living document that reflects the fluid realities of technological change, evolving harms and user behaviours. This means for example, the latest national, local and school trends and incidents that will be reflected in your training and policies (see the LGfL template OS policy for national trends we have identified over the past year).
Since the KCSIE 2023 changes specifying that the safeguarding lead has “lead responsibility for […] understanding the filtering and monitoring” and which refer to the new DfE standards, including the need to “review filtering and monitoring provision at least annually”, you may wish to use the filtering and monitoring sections of this audit to perform this review – we recommend it be carried out in the context of all other areas of online safety to ensure that filtering and monitoring support the curriculum, whole-school approaches, safeguarding team interventions and vice versa.
An online safety audit should be carried out by or with the safeguarding team, in recognition that “the designated safeguarding lead should take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety and understanding the filtering and monitoring systems and processes in place)” (Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023, emphases added). Even though curriculum responsibilities may lie elsewhere, a whole-school approach requires collaboration and a common understanding, so it is important that all sections are not carried out separately and then combined.
We recommend that results, conclusions and actions are incorporated into a school’s overall safeguarding audit (also known as the Section 175 audit) and considered as part of a holistic, contextual safeguarding approach – not treated separately to offline issues.
This audit has been broken down into two broad sections:
Curriculum, General Approach & Communication
Safe School Systems (technology for safeguarding and safeguarding for technology)*
We suggest you use the final column to add the evidence, links, details and when it was checked, plus risks and actions/mitigations (by way of documenting your risk assessment).
Feel free to edit this template and add your school logo but please do not remove the LGfL branding or copyright notice and rather than share the file, if you would like to share with other schools, ask them to visit onlinesafetyaudit.lgfl.net
Remember to share results with your school governors or trustees (as well as the safeguarding governor, the new need for a filtering and monitoring governor and broader standards give new relevance to them all seeing this document) to help them fulfil their oversight duties. We welcome feedback to help us improve the tool, via firstname.lastname@example.org
* Safe School Systems has more detail than in other sections to help non-technical colleagues better understand technical issues. The length does not reflect relative importance to education and messaging.