Serious case reviews: piloting the SCIE model

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 video looks at the first pilots of the SCIE model which were completed in the North West of England in September 2010.

The Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) of Salford, Wirral and Lancashire took part. Managers talk about what it was like to work together as a multi-agency review team in conducting the case review, and the experience of using the analytic frameworks that the model provides. Front line practitioners from social care and probation also describe what it was like taking part and give examples of ways in which the experience has positively changed their practice.

Messages for practice

  1. Findings from the North West pilots were very promising. Both senior managers conducting the review and the staff involved in the process felt that the SCIE Learning Together model, and associated tools, had supported a constructive learning experience for all involved.
  2. The distinguishing feature of the SCIE systems model is that it places professional practice in the broader organisational context, focusing not only on what happened but on understanding why a case was handled in the way it was. Importantly it looks at all the factors that influence professionals working directly with families, looking at the whole system rather than focusing on individual actions in a vacuum. Managers found the individual conversations with staff extremely illuminating of this context.
  3. The model is highly collaborative, front line workers and their first line managers who were involved with the family are centrally and actively involved in the case review throughout. Pilot participants identified this as a strength of the approach: that it brings all professionals involved together for a significant period of time in a multi-agency setting, and allows them to contribute vital data as well as having an active role in the analysis.
  4. Staff felt that being involved had positively changed their practice in practical and sustainable ways. Most striking was the clarification they had gained about the nature of each other’s agencies and roles, compared to what they had perceived them to be.
  5. A vital part of the methodology involves the review team identifying key practice episodes that require further investigation, including identifying contributory factors that influenced professional’s practice at the time. Subsequently, the SCIE model supports the review team to identify underlying patterns of systemic influence: those that impact on many more cases than just the one under investigation.

Who will find this useful?

LSCB Chairs and members; Serious Case Review panel members; Serious Case Review panel chairs; overview report authors; individual management review authors; staff involved in Serious Case Reviews; directors and assistant directors of children’s services; lead members.