SCIE press release

Safeguarding - three things to think about

17 October 2013

Lord Michael Bichard, Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, has called for improvements to the use of reviews of abuse and neglect in child protection. Speaking at the National Children and Adults conference last night, Lord Bichard asked for tighter control over the methods used in reviews, better training for reviewers and a centre for excellence that can collate, examine and share lessons learned across the country.

“The tragic death of Daniel Pelka caused many of us to ask whether the process, for reviewing such cases, is proving effective. I have for some time had three concerns about such reviews.”

“Firstly, there is no agreement about what constitutes an acceptable methodology for case reviews. I do not believe that the principles set out in Working Together are sufficient and I do not believe it’s an adequate response to leave it to local safeguarding children’s boards (LCSBs) to use methodology which they deem appropriate to the circumstances. At SCIE we believe that the Learning Together methodology provides an answer but I am aware that there are other alternatives. Learning Together is a process for undertaking thorough system-based reviews of cases; this goes beyond identifying what happened, to explaining why it happened. In my opinion there needs to be some menu of acceptable methodologies from which LCSBs can choose.”

“Secondly, those leading these reviews need to be trained so that they are capable of using the chosen methodology, and they need to be able to draw on support during the review.”

“Finally, there needs to be a small centre of excellence which: takes the findings of reviews; disseminates them; builds them into training programmes; and advises on how systems need to be redesigned to address failings. I applaud the fact that the NSPCC is, on its own initiative, building an archive of review findings. But I want to see more - some way in which findings can be actioned - and continued NSPCC involvement in that would be invaluable.”

“SCIE and Learning Together could help address these concerns and enhance public and professional confidence in the review process.”

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Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: media@scie.org.uk