Serious Case Review Quality Markers 

Quality statement

The Serious Case Review (SCR) analysis is transparent and rigorous. It evaluates and explains professional practice in the case, shedding light on routine challenges and constraints to practitioner efforts to safeguard children.


The purpose of SCRs is to support improvements in safeguarding practice. This means it is not sufficient to describe professional activity in a case or to identify elements of practice that were problematic, without explaining why they occurred. The analysis needs to identify what has led to and sustained the kind of practice problems that the case reveals, so as to focus improvement efforts.

This requires the following.

How might you know if you are meeting this quality marker?

  1. Is the approach to analysis contained in the QM understood by those who commission and undertake the review?
  2. Is it clear from any descriptions of the method/approach used for the SCR that it enables the approach to analysis described in the rationale section of the QM?
  3. Has the analysis established what happened in the case, with comments on the quality of practice but also explanations of professional actions and decision-making?
  4. Is the research evidence about what constitutes good practice that is used in the analysis up to date and accurate?
  5. Does the analysis provide explanations of professional behaviour that call on a range of factors related to the tasks, tools and organisational issues rather than only being concerned with whether staff were adequately skilled and the relevant procedures were available?
  6. Is it clear what specific techniques have been used to minimise the bias of hindsight and outcome knowledge on the analysis?
  7. Does the presentation of the analysis in both working documents and the final report show enough of the working-out process to allow the interpretation to be critiqued and counter evidence to be brought to bear?
  8. Does the analysis draw attention to what professional activity in the case reveals about how service delivery worked, or is working more generally and routinely?
  9. Is it clear where knowledge about the wider safeguarding system at the time of the case, or now, has come from? For example, working with a review team, input about practitioners’ wider experiences.
  10. Does the analysis show clearly how the conclusions relate to the individual case as well as why they are relevant to wider safeguarding practice?
  11. Does the lead reviewer(s) access supervision or peer challenge to support the quality of analysis undertaken?

Knowledge base

Link to statutory guidance & inspection criteria

Tackling some common obstacles