SCIE media releases 2010

Serious case review system piloted in North West England

16 November 2010

It was a very different atmosphere with this model. Usually you defend your corner, whereas here the barriers came down, which allowed for those conversations to happen.

Case group member

SCIE’s system for case reviews and serious case reviews has been successfully applied in three pilot case reviews in the North West of England. Today sees the launch of an At a glance that summarises what was learnt in these recent pilots.

Learning Together – SCIE’s systems model

The model provides a method for getting to the bottom of professional practice. It helps agencies to understand which work arrangements are conducive to good safeguarding practice and to identify issues which actually make it more likely that poor practice will occur.

This builds on safety management developments in the fields of engineering and, subsequently, health. The adapted model is published under the title ‘Learning together’ and is commonly referred to as ‘the SCIE model’.

SCIE’s Deputy Chief Executive, Amanda Edwards, says:

Public confidence in social workers can be undermined if those professionals are perceived not to learn from cases in which children suffer or die from abuse. Serious case reviews provide potential learning opportunities and these aren’t always fully realised. The report on the first pilots of the systems model is very encouraging about the model’s potential to enhance learning from case review and serious case reviews. If you are interested in the model, please get in touch”.

Among the key messages in the At a glance are:

Policy context

The Government has asked Professor Eileen Munro to review child protection in England. Among the issues being considered is whether there are other methods for learning from serious case reviews that are more effective and efficient, including work in other sectors.

Further details can be found in the Learning together section of the website and the accompanying Social Care TV video. SCIE is continuing to work with a number of pilot sites in England. Other councils who are interested in introducing the model are advised to contact SCIE.


The At a glance, ‘Piloting the SCIE ‘systems’ model for case reviews: Learning from the North West of England’.

Readers new to SCIEs work on the systems approach are encouraged to read At a glance 01: Learning together to safeguard children: a ‘systems’ model for case reviews before ready this document, which presumes basic knowledge of the approach.

SCIE’s systems approach has been successfully applied in three pilot case reviews in the North West of England. The cases were not serious case reviews (SCRs) but were serious, involving child deaths and injury. SCIE is working with a number of pilot sites to formally develop, implement and evaluate the Learning together model. Initial findings are very encouraging. SCIE and our partners are taking a very open approach to sharing the learning from these pilots. Councils who are interested in introducing the model are advised to contact Dr Sheila Fish, Senior Research Analyst at SCIE - email, tel 020 7089 7110.

Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: