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About Serious Case Review Quality Markers

There are 18 quality markers for case reviews and serious case reviews. Covering the whole process, the quality markers provide a consistent and robust approach to SCRs. They are based predominantly on established principles of effective reviews / investigation as well as SCR practice experience and expertise.

Review setup

Running the review

Review outputs

How they help

The SCR Quality Markers are intended to support commissioners and lead reviewers to commission and conduct high quality reviews. They capture principles of good practice and pose questions to help commissioners and reviewers consider how they might best achieve them. SCRs are a complex field of activity where simple rules rarely apply, so judgement is often needed. The Quality Markers are therefore designed to stimulate discussion and support informed judgements. They are not a ‘how to’ handbook because there are a variety of ways in which they can be achieved. The Quality Markers do not presume or promote any particular model or approach for how to achieve them. They support variety, innovation and proportionality in approaches to case reviews.

How they have been developed

The SCR Quality Markers have been produced by a development group made up of eight experienced lead reviewers. They are based on research evidence, practice experience and statutory requirements.

As part of the Quality Markers development process, feedback was provided by 57 Local Safeguarding Children Board chairs, board managers and lead reviewers at two summits. In addition, the markers were tested against five SCRs, supplemented by input provided by the Association of Independent LSCB Chairs.

How the quality markers are presented

Each Quality Marker is presented in a table, using the following structure:

  • Quality statement – a summary description of the quality marker
  • Rationale – further explanation of the marker and why it is important and necessary
  • How might you know if you are meeting this QM? – questions to consider for self-assessment
  • Knowledge base – any research or practice evidence underpinning to the marker
  • Equality & diversity – any specific equality and diversity issues that are important to consider
  • Link to statutory guidance and inspection criteria – any relevant regulations, statutory guidance and national minimum standards
  • Tackling some common obstacles – these have been identified by the lead reviewers and LSCBs during the Learning into Practice project (LIPP) and can be added to over time.

How they can be used

The SCR Quality Markers can be used in a number of different ways and at different times during a single SCR.

When Which quality markersFor what purpose
At the beginning
The full set of markers
To create clarity and transparency of what is being commissioned
At the beginning
The full set of markers
To support practical planning and preparation
Progressively over the course of the reviewIndividual markersTo manage and quality assure the process
At the end The full set of markersTo structure reflection retrospectively on the review and identify improvements for future SCRs

The markers should not be treated as a process map because while the three clusters in which they are structured are broadly sequential, the components within them are not.

The SCR Quality Markers were produced as part of the Learning into Practice Project, a one-year DfE-funded project conducted by NSPCC and SCIE between April 2015 and March 2016.