Safeguarding children: a new approach to case reviews

What is the video about?

SCIE has led in the development of a new ‘systems approach’ for conducting case reviews of multi-agency safeguarding and child protection work. This provides a theory and method for understanding why good and poor practice occurs, in order to identify effective supports and solutions. It has been adapted from methods developed in other high risk areas of work, such as aviation, and has been adopted more recently in the health sector. It can be used not only to learn from tragedies but also to facilitate learning from success.

The film begins with some background to the systems approach and how it helps us to understand the complex causal networks in multi-agency practice. We hear from two people about what it is like to take part in a case review using a systems approach and what the benefits are. Some directors of children’s services then explain why they are enthusiastic about taking this work forward.

Messages for practice

  1. In the wake of the tragic death of Baby Peter, there is a strong impetus to improve the quality of SCRs and associated recommendations in order to ensure practice improvements.
  2. To date there has been little consideration of ‘methods’ in the conduct of SCRs. People have not, for example, been obliged to state what approach they use to make sense of the case and identify relevant lessons.
  3. Building on the considerable history in other fields, and incorporating a clear methodology and inbuilt quality control, the systems approach has real potential to make a positive contribution to the SCR process. More detail can be found in SCIE Guide 24.
  4. SCIE has received a high level of interest in the systems model including from health services, who are familiar with the approach, and the police. There is notable sector readiness across England to improve on current methods of learning and to improve practice. SCIE has, therefore, made an offer to work collaboratively with the sector to support regional pilots. There are also plans to offer training to independent consultants.
  5. We encourage anyone interested in finding out more about these developments, or who is planning to use the model in practice, to get in touch.

Who will find this useful?

SCR panel members; SCR panel chairs; overview report authors; individual management review authors; staff involved in SCRs; directors and assistant directors of children’s services; lead members.