Safeguarding

Serious Case Reviews

Second report of the national panel of independent experts 

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013, the Government’s guide to inter- agency working published in March 2013, announced that a national panel of independent experts would be established ‘to support Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) in ensuring that appropriate action is taken to learn from serious incidents in all cases where the statutory criteria are met and to ensure that those lessons are shared through publication of final SCR reports.’ The revised version of Working Together, published in March 2015, maintains the panel arrangements.

The panel has recently published its second report. 

Summary of main findings:

“The panel believes significant and welcome progress has been made in the system surrounding the initiation and publication of SCRs, but that serious barriers to an effective system remain. In particular, the quality of commissioned SCRs is highly variable and publication is obstructed by unnecessary delays.”

Summary of main recommendations:

  1. The panel recommends that DfE and Ofsted continue to keep Serious Incident Notifications under review and cross reference with other available data to ensure that all serious incidents are notified to national authorities.
  2. The panel recommends that Ministers consider whether a future review of Working Together should extend the definition of ‘serious harm’ to include harm that is caused to considerable numbers of young people in a particular LSCB area.
  3. The panel recommends that Ministers consider whether a future review of Working Together should extend the definition of ‘serious harm’ to include harm that is caused to considerable numbers of young people in a particular LSCB area.
  4. The panel recommends that DfE and AILC monitor the impact of the publication of SCRs and report to the panel any specific, verifiable instances of direct and serious consequences for individuals as a result of publication.
  5. The panel remains firmly of the view that, regardless of methodology and specialist sector knowledge, an SCR reviewer must have the ability to produce a clear and succinct account of what happened and why, and what needs to change to prevent it from happening again and it recommends that LSCB chairs appoint reviewers with strong analytical skills.
  6. The panel urges DfE to act to ensure that LSCBs are adequately funded by local partners to support the SCR process; and that AILC in turn receives adequate funding from DfE or member LSCBs.
  7. The panel recommends that LSCBs and AILC make full use of the repository to inform local practice improvements; and that DfE monitors any emerging themes from SCRs which suggest the need for national policy responses.

Read the full report here: Second report of the national panel of independent experts on Serious Case Reviews

Our mission is to help bring about improvements in practice and policy. Holding children at the centre of what we do through our work with and for them, we aim to lead and promote excellent care and services. The partnership consists of an elected Chair and elected Regional Leads who represent their regions at a national level (two from each of the nine regions within England).

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