Three new reports focused on learning from case reviews in England have been made available through the UK Government website.
On March 4th, the Department for Education published a triennial analysis report looking at serious case reviews relating to incidents of child maltreatment between 2014 and 2017.1
The 277-page report looks at the 368 serious case reviews (SCRs) conducted when a child dies or is seriously harmed, and abuse or neglect was a factor. It provides an overall picture of the patterns and trends of maltreatment in the reviews, before focusing on issues relating to neglect, vulnerable adolescents, and messages from care and court cases.
Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel reviews
The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, operational since June 2018, also published two new reports; its first annual review and its first national review.
The annual review provides analysis on over 500 rapid reviews received from July 2018 to December 2019, highlighting common practice issues including: optimistic thinking; weak risk assessment; poor decision making; poor information exchange between agencies; use of written agreements; and resolving professional disputes.2
The Panel’s national review, entitled “It was hard to escape”, focuses on safeguarding children at risk from criminal exploitation.3 The report aims to identify what might be done differently by practitioners to improve approaches to protecting children who find themselves threatened with violence and serious harm by criminal gangs.
All three of the new reports contain some common themes. One is the importance of school in protecting children, as school staff are often best-placed to notice signs that a child may be at risk. Exclusion from mainstream education is also identified as the key factor in criminal exploitation cases. Another common theme is the vulnerability of adolescents, which is not always recognised or well-enough understood by practitioners. The reports highlight the importance of adolescents being able to build relationships with trusted professionals.
Previous involvement with services is also a key theme. Both the triennial analysis report and the Panel’s annual report highlight the issue of children being harmed or killed after returning home from care. Whilst in contrast, the safeguarding children at risk from criminal exploitation report finds relatively low levels of previous involvement with children’s social care in the 21 cases reviewed.
NSPCC Learning has produced CASPAR briefings for all three reports, summarising the key findings of each.
ReferencesDepartment for Education (DfE) (2020) Complexity and challenge: a triennial analysis of SCRs 2014-2017 (PDF). London: Department for Education (DfE).
Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (2020) Annual report 2018 to 2019: patterns in practice, key messages, and 2020 work programme (PDF). London: Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.
Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (2020) It was hard to escape: safeguarding children at risk from criminal exploitation (PDF). London: Child Safeguarding Review Panel.