Local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews

A function of the Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board is to conduct a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review after a child has died or is seriously harmed as a result of abuse or neglect who’s permanent residence is within the Local Authority area.  The Pan Bedfordshire National & Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review Procedure & Guidance sets out the arrangements that are in place to respond to these reviews and what happens once a referral is made to the Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board under Chapter 4 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018).

 The purpose of reviews of serious child safeguarding cases, at both local and national level, is to identify improvements to be made to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Reviews seek to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrence of similar incidents. They are not conducted to hold individuals, organisations or agencies to account.

 ‘Serious child safeguarding cases’ are those in which:

(a) Abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected

(b)  The child has died or been seriously harmed

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) states that serious harm includes (but is not limited to) serious and/or long-term impairment of a child’s mental health or intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. It should also cover impairment of physical health. This is not an exhaustive list. When making decisions, judgment should be exercised in cases where impairment is likely to be long-term, even if this is not immediately certain. Even if a child recovers, including from a one-off incident, serious harm may still have occurred.

Meeting the criteria does not mean that Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board must automatically carry out a local child safeguarding practice review. Locally it is for the Care Review Group, on behalf of the Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board, to determine whether a review is appropriate, taking into account that the overall purpose of a review is to identify improvements to practice.

Local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews reports will be published on our website to enable the sharing of learning across the children’s workforce. All reports are anonymised for publication.

 National Case Review Repository

In November 2013 the NSPCC in collaboration with The Association of Independent LSCB Chairs launched the national case review repository. The repository provides a single place for published case reviews to make it easier to access and share learning at a local, regional and national level.

National Case Review Repository

The NSPCC have put together a series of themed briefing documents highlighting the learning from published reviews. Each briefing focuses on a different topic, pulling together key risk factors and practice recommendations to help practitioners understand and act upon the learning.

Learning from Case Reviews

Notifications of Serious Child Safeguarding Events

Where a local authority in England knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected, the local authority must notify the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) if –

  1. The child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority's area; or
  2. While normally resident in the local authority's area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England.

16C(1) of the Children Act 2004
(as amended by the Children and Social Work Act 2017)

The local authority must notify the Panel of any event that meets the criteria within 5 working days of becoming aware that the incident has occurred. The local authority should also report the event to the safeguarding partners in their area (and in other areas if appropriate) within 5 working days. Where the child was Looked After, the local authority must also notify the Secretary of State and Ofsted that they have died, regardless of whether abuse or neglect is known or suspected.

The duty to notify serious child safeguarding events to the Panel rests with the local authority. Information on the process to be followed using the Child Incident Notification System can be found on GOV.UK.

The Case Review Group

Any partner agency may refer a case to the Case Review Group if they believe that there are important lessons for multi-agency working to be learned from the case.

The Case Review Group has several functions and tasks delegated to it. In summary, the Case Review Group will coordinate the following inter-related activity:

  • Making recommendations to the Independent Chair as to: - whether a child safeguarding practice review should be carried out and the methodology to be used, or - whether a child safeguarding practice review should not be carried out but another type of review should be undertaken and the methodology to be used, or - whether other action should be taken by the Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board.
  • Commissioning local child safeguarding practice review, positive learning review or other types of reviews on behalf of the Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board.
  • Monitoring partner agency and the Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board’s action plans following the publication of child safeguarding practice reviews or completion of another type of review.
  • Using the learning from local and national child safeguarding practice reviews to inform policy, practice and the Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board learning and development programme.

Referring cases to the Case Review Group for consideration

Each agency must have arrangements for identifying cases where the agency considers that criteria for either a local or national child safeguarding practice reviews may be met (see sections 4 and 8). It is important that any practitioner or professional is able to discuss a case with their agency Case Review Group representative if they think a child safeguarding practice review may be required.

The Case Review Group representative should notify the Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board Business Unit of a referral and confirm this in writing within 48 hours using the Pan Bedfordshire Referral Form.

The Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board Business Unit will request agency information to enable the reports to be available to the Case Review Group so that the group can undertake a rapid review of the case and make a recommendation to the Independent Chair as to what kind of review should be commissioned, or if no further action should be taken.

Locally the three safeguarding partners have ultimate responsibility for deciding whether to conduct a local review. The Independent Chair will also be informed to allow independent scrutiny of the decision making process.

Cases may be referred by the local Child Death Overview Panel. The Chair of the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) may refer a case to the Case Review Group that appears to meet the criteria and which they considers is likely to have important lessons for inter-agency working.

The Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board Business Manager: Phillipa Scott (0300 300 6455) is available for further advice.

Send the request to the CBSCB Business Support Officer CBSCB@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

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