Learning together to safeguard children: developing a multi-agency systems approach for case reviews

Introduction - What this guide is about

  • This guide presents a systems model for organisational learning across agencies involved in safeguarding children.
  • It is an introduction both to a way of thinking and its application in practice.
  • It sets out the actions needed for a structured and systematic process of learning from practice.
  • It provides documents to support implementation of the approach.
  • The systems model continues to be developed in engineering and health. For child welfare this guide is an innovative and important first step.

Children’s safety and welfare are key concerns in all countries, with continual efforts being made to improve child welfare and child protection services. Learning is central to these endeavours so that problems and their solutions can be identified. However, are current learning approaches adequate to the task?

A new SCIE report, ‘Learning together to safeguard children’ (Fish et al, 2008), presents a ‘systems’ model of organisational learning that can be used across agencies involved in safeguarding and child protection work. It has been adapted from accident investigation methods used in aviation and engineering and, more recently, in health. It should be considered as a preliminary version for child welfare and the basis on which future developments can build. We encourage people to try it out.

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