SCIE media statement

Safeguarding adults and children - New ways of learning from case reviews

16 February 2012

There’s new support on offer today for anyone in Northern Ireland involved with protecting adults and children at risk. The Social Care Institute for Excellence is holding an expert seminar in Belfast (Mossley Mill) which will look at the common challenges for policy makers, strategic managers with safeguarding responsibilities for both adults and children.

The event will see how agencies can learn better from frontline practice in children’s and adults’ work. The seminar is a good opportunity to learn about SCIE ’s Learning Together model for case reviews. The model examines ways of understanding what causes good or poor practice in multi-agency safeguarding work. Participants will then discuss how this might be put into practice in Northern Ireland.

Systems approach

SCIE will set out its innovative method for conducting case reviews which focuses on learning. This “systems approach”, which has been piloted in a number of English Local Authorities, has its roots in the engineering and health sectors. It provides a window on the system as a whole and shows how this can help staff to interpret vital evidence.

The model offers:

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 adults or children are poorly protected from abuse. Case reviews potentially provide key learning opportunities and these aren’t always fully realised. We’re confident that this message will be heard in Northern Ireland, where we hope that learning from the SCIE model can help those responsible for adult and child safeguarding, to protect adults and children better.


SCIE has piloted the approach in three sites in the North-West of England. The key messages include; having a multi-agency ‘review team’ working together from the beginning creates a common endeavour, greater challenge and confidence to find new ways of working and effective solutions; actively involving frontline workers and team managers throughout the process is a vital aspect of the model; SCIE ’s approach identifies conditions supporting good safeguarding practice as well as those influencing professional practice in negative ways.

In England the Munro Review , which followed the case of Peter Connolly, recommends that Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards use a systems approach, such as SCIE ’s model, for serious case reviews.


Media contact

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