Inter-professional communication and decision making

Last updated: 04 Sep 2018 Topics: Case reviews

Practice issues identified in an analysis of 38 serious case reviews

Problems with inter-professional communication and its impact upon decision making is a common theme in serious case reviews (SCRs).

We looked at 38 SCRs, published between May 2014 and April 2015, and identified 44 different practice issues relating to how professionals in different agencies communicate and make decisions.

We have produced a mapping document giving an overview of the practice issues to support managers, senior managers and practitioners. This document illustrates the child's journey from universal services through early help assessments, referrals, strategy meetings, assessments, Child in Need meetings, child protection conferences and ongoing case work.

We have also produced 14 briefings that look at some of these practice issues in more detail.

Authors: NSPCC and Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)
Published: 2016


Improving the quality and use of serious case reviews

From April 2015 to March 2016 we worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) on a Department for Education (DfE) funded Learning into Practice project, piloting ways to improve the quality and use of serious case reviews (SCRs).

The project focused on:

  • adding practitioner knowledge to an analysis of SCRs to identify practice issues relating to "inter-professional communication and decision making"
  • creating an Alliance of professional and leadership bodies to drive forwards improvements in practice
  • developing a set of quality markers to help support commissioners and reviewers through the SCR process
  • developing master classes for lead reviewers to build on their experience and knowledge around specific skills relevant to undertaking SCRs.

Citation

Please cite as: NSPCC/SCIE (2016) Learning into Practice: inter-professional communication and decision making – practice issues identified in 38 serious case reviews. London: NSPCC/SCIE.

Download overview of 44 practice issues

This mapping document gives an overview of the practice issues to support managers, senior managers and practitioners.

Download Learning into Practice: inter-professional communication and decision making – practice issues identified in 38 serious case reviews (PDF)

Download practice issues briefings

These 14 briefings provide a more detailed understanding of practice issues highlighted by the SCR reports and can help support change and improvement work at national and local levels. They use analysis from 38 SCR reports and practitioner knowledge gathered during 3 multi-agency summits.

Download 1. Disagreement about use of early help assessment (PDF)

Download 2. Confusion about ‘referrals’ and ‘contacts’ in children’s social care (PDF)

Download 3. Not making a referral after bruising to non-mobile babies (PDF)

Download 4. Not making a referral when young people disclose concerning sexual activity (PDF)

Download 5. Unresolved disagreement about the need for children’s social care involvement (PDF)

Download 6. Not convening strategy discussions (PDF)

Download 7. Confusion about interpretation of medical information on cause of injury (PDF)

Download 8. Incomplete information-sharing by schools in child protection conferences (PDF)

Download 9. Misinterpretation of police decisions not to pursue a prosecution (PDF)

Download 10. Unequal weight given to views of different agencies in child protection conferences (PDF)

Download 11. Unfocused discussion in child protection conferences (PDF)

Download 12. Reluctance to share all information in presence of families at child protection conferences (PDF)

Download 13. Euphemistic language in reports and written records (PDF)

Download 14. Lack of communication between children’s and adults’ social care (PDF)