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Serious Case Review Quality Markers

Topics: Case reviews

Supporting dialogue about the principles of good practice and how to achieve them

Serious case reviews (SCRs) aim to provide learning about how to improve practice around safeguarding. Multi-agency safeguarding work is complex and there is limited guidance for local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) and reviewers around setting up and carrying out reviews.

18 Quality Markers have been developed to help support commissioners and reviewers to commission and conduct high quality reviews. They provide a consistent and robust approach to SCRs by covering the whole process from setting up to running the review, to looking at outputs and outcomes from the review.

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

What the Quality Markers are

The Quality Markers are designed to pose questions, stimulate discussion and support informed judgements. They can be used to:

  • clarify and make transparent what the review should be looking at
  • support practical planning and preparation for the review
  • manage and quality assure the process
  • support retrospective reflection on the review and identify improvements for future case reviews.

The Quality Markers were developed by the LiPP project, working with experienced lead reviewers, LSCB Chairs and Board Managers. They are based on research evidence, practice experience and statutory requirements.

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.


Please cite as: NSPCC/SCIE (2016) Serious case review quality markers. London: NSPCC/SCIE.