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Assessments: learning from case reviews

Summary of learning for improved practice around assessments

Publication date March 2024

Assessments help professionals to identify strengths, needs, risks and protective factors in the lives of the children and families they work with. They are an essential part of planning, deciding, and reviewing what action needs to be taken to support or safeguard children.

However, case reviews, research and reports repeatedly identify concerns around how assessments are conducted.1,2,1

Learning from case reviews highlights that professionals conducting assessments should:

  • focus on the voice and needs of the child
  • involve all significant people in the child’s life
  • gather and share information across agencies and local areas
  • critically evaluate the information they collect.


Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (2024) Annual report 2022/23: patterns in practice, key messages and 2023/24 work programme (PDF). [London]: Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.
Hood, R. et al (2022) Improving the quality of decision making and risk assessment in children’s social care: a rapid evidence review (PDF). London: What Works Centre for Children's Social Care.
Ofsted (2015) The quality of assessment for children in need of help (PDF). Manchester: Ofsted.
Assessments: learning from case reviews
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Browse our full series of learning from case reviews briefings

Our series of thematic briefings highlight the learning from case reviews conducted when a child dies, or is seriously harmed, as a result of abuse or neglect. Each briefing focuses on a different topic or learning for specific sectors, pulling together key risk factors and practice recommendations.

> See the full series