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Therefore the SCR needs to enable those involved to have a constructive experience of taking part.

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Safeguarding children. Rationale Practitioners and managers who were involved in the case, or potentially should have been involved, are an important source of information for an SCR. How might you know if you are meeting this quality marker? Is the purpose of any interviews, conversations, meetings or events that involve practitioners clear? Are participants being provided with clear information about the SCR and their role in it?

Are agencies encouraging their staff to contribute their experiences and views to the SCR? Does the planning for the SCR include consideration of how to support individual practitioners? Are practitioners being provided with adequate protections within their own organisations? Are practitioners being provided with adequate support and protection in the planning of any group events?

When a serious incident becomes known to the safeguarding partners[79], they must consider whether the case meets the criteria for a local review. Meeting the criteria does not mean that safeguarding partners must automatically carry out a local child safeguarding practice review. It is for them to determine whether a review is appropriate, taking into account that the overall purpose of a review is to identify improvements to practice.

Issues might appear to be the same in some child safeguarding cases but reasons for actions and behaviours may be different and so there may be different learning to be gained from similar cases.


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Decisions on whether to undertake reviews should be made transparently and the rationale communicated appropriately, including to families. Safeguarding partners must consider the criteria and guidance below when determining whether to carry out a local child safeguarding practice review. The criteria which the local safeguarding partners must take into account include whether the case[80]:.

Some cases may not meet the definition of a 'serious child safeguarding case', but nevertheless raise issues of importance to the local area. That might, for example, include where there has been good practice, poor practice or where there have been 'near miss' events.

Safeguarding partners may choose to undertake a local child safeguarding practice review in these or other circumstances. The safeguarding partners should promptly undertake a rapid review of the case, in line with any guidance published by the Panel. The aim of this rapid review is to enable safeguarding partners to:. As soon as the rapid review is complete, the safeguarding partners should send a copy to the Panel[82].

They should also share with the Panel their decision about whether a local child safeguarding practice review is appropriate, or whether they think the case may raise issues which are complex or of national importance such that a national review may be appropriate. They may also do this if, during the course of a local child safeguarding practice review, new information comes to light which suggests that a national review may be appropriate. As soon as they have determined that a local review will be carried out, they should inform the Panel, Ofsted and DfE, including the name of any reviewer they have commissioned.

On receipt of the information from the rapid review, the Panel must decide whether it is appropriate to commission a national review of a case or cases. They must consider the criteria and guidance below. The criteria which the Panel must take into account include whether the case[83]:. As well as considering notifications from local authorities and information from rapid reviews and local child safeguarding practice reviews, the Panel should take into account a range of other evidence, including inspection reports and other reports and research.

The Panel may also take into account any other criteria they consider appropriate to identify whether a serious child safeguarding case raises issues which are complex or of national importance. In many cases there will need to be dialogue between the safeguarding partners and the Panel to support the decision-making process. The safeguarding partners must share further information with the Panel as requested. The Panel should inform the relevant safeguarding partners promptly following receipt of the rapid review, if they consider that:.

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The Panel should take decisions on whether to undertake national reviews and communicate their rationale appropriately, including to families. The Panel should notify the Secretary of State when a decision is made to carry out a national review. If the Panel decides to undertake a national review they should discuss with the safeguarding partners the potential scope and methodology of the review and how they will engage with them and those involved in the case.

There will be instances where a local review has been carried out which could then form part of a thematic review that the Panel undertakes at a later date. There may also be instances when a local review has not been carried out but where the Panel considers that the case could be helpful to a national review at some stage in the future. In such circumstances, the Panel should engage with safeguarding partners to agree the conduct of the review.

The Panel and the safeguarding partners should have clear processes for how they will work with other investigations, including Domestic Homicide Reviews , multi-agency public protection arrangements reviews or Safeguarding Adults Reviews, and work collaboratively with those responsible for carrying out those reviews.

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This is to reduce burdens on and anxiety for the children and families concerned and to minimise duplication of effort and uncertainty. The safeguarding partners are responsible for commissioning and supervising reviewers for local reviews[86]. The safeguarding partners should agree with the reviewer s the method by which the review should be conducted, taking into account this guidance and the principles of the systems methodology recommended by the Munro review[87].

The methodology should provide a way of looking at and analysing frontline practice as well as organisational structures and learning. The methodology should be able to reach recommendations that will improve outcomes for children. All reviews should reflect the child's perspective and the family context. The review should be proportionate to the circumstances of the case, focus on potential learning, and establish and explain the reasons why the events occurred as they did. As part of their duty to ensure that the review is of satisfactory quality, the safeguarding partners should seek to ensure that:.

The safeguarding partners must supervise the review to ensure that the reviewer is making satisfactory progress and that the review is of satisfactory quality. The safeguarding partners may request information from the reviewer during the review to enable them to assess progress and quality; any such requests must be made in writing.

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The President of the Family Division's guidance covering the role of the judiciary in SCRs[89] should also be noted in the context of child safeguarding practice reviews. Any recommendations should be clear on what is required of relevant agencies and others collectively and individually, and by when, and focussed on improving outcomes for children. Reviews are about promoting and sharing information about improvements, both within the area and potentially beyond, so safeguarding partners must publish the report, unless they consider it inappropriate to do so.

In such a circumstance, they must publish any information about the improvements that should be made following the review that they consider it appropriate to publish. The name of the reviewer s should be included.

Karen Broadhurst (Author of Critical Perspectives on Safeguarding Children)

Her teaching, research and publications primarily focus on youth justice, young people and crime, and gender and the criminal justice system. She is the co-editor of Gender and Crime: A Reader Request permission to reuse content from this site. Andy Pithouse and Karen Broadhurst. Karen Broadhurst. Sue Peckover. Undetected location.