Rapid Reviews and Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews; a practitioner guide

As part of the national reforms to local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, Serious Case Reviews are no longer undertaken by Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships. However partnerships are required to consider undertaking Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews when there has been a Serious Child Care Incident within their area.

Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (CSPRs) play a vital role in helping practitioners and organisations continually improve the way they work, individually or together, to keep children and young people safe and free from harm. They are also key in identifying, strengthening and promoting good practice. These, along with other reviewing processes, are a major element of our Learning and Improvement Framework.

A review is the formal process that brings together information from all the agencies involved with the child and their family leading up to the incident. From these records, a report is produced that includes analysis of all contact with the child and family, any decisions that were made, the conclusions reached and any recommendations for action.

The review is not an investigation or enquiry and is completely separate from any investigation being undertaken by the Police. The review concentrates on the work of the professionals, organisations and agencies who have been involved with the child and their family.

 

Why do Reviews take place?

The purpose of Reviews is to identify learning that can be put into action to support best practice.

This is done by:

  • identifying good practice and how this can be shared and replicated to better safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • establishing what lessons can be learned from the case about the way in which professionals and organisations work individually and together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • improving intra- and inter-agency working to better safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Reviews are not enquiries into how a child died or was seriously harmed, or into who is to blame. These are matters for the coroners and criminal courts.

 

What is a Serious Child Care Incident?

A Serious Child Care Incident is where a child has died or been seriously harmed, and abuse or neglect is known or suspected. The local authority must notify the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel if there is a Serious Child Care Incident within their area, or involving a child who is normally resident in the local authority’s area but the incident has occurred whilst the child is outside of England.

 

What happens next?

Following a notification to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel of a Serious Child Care Incident by the local authority, they will also inform the LSCP who will initiate a Rapid Review. The information gathered through the Rapid Review will be considered by the LSCP Review Advisory Group who will make a recommendation to the LSCP Executive as to whether or not a Child Safeguarding Practice Review should be undertaken. The LSCP Executive will then either agree, or disagree with the recommendation and if felt appropriate, a Child Safeguarding Practice Review will be commissioned.

 

What is a Rapid Review?

A Rapid Review is an initial gathering and analysis of information with regards to the incident and agency involvement with the child and their family. It supports the LSCP Review Advisory Group in understanding agency involvement and if there are any potential lessons to be learnt through undertaking a Child Safeguarding Practice Review.

Agencies are asked to provide information regarding their contact with the child and their family. This information is collated with information from other agencies and assessed by the Review Advisory Group to identify good practice and any potential learning. The group will also consider if learning has already been identified and acted upon.

The Review Advisory Group will also consider guidance and criteria as laid out in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, however meeting the criteria does not mean that safeguarding partners must automatically carry out a Child Safeguarding Practice Review. It is for them to determine whether a review is appropriate, taking into account that the overall purpose of a review is to identify improvements to practice

There is a national timescale of 15 working days within which Rapid Reviews should be completed and decisions notified to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.

 

Who are the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel?

The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel are an independent body of professionals who provide a support, guidance and challenge function in relation to improving the child safeguarding system in England. They collate information in relation to Serious Child Care Incidents, provide guidance on the outcomes of Rapid Reviews and consider learning identified within reviews. They are not able to direct a Safeguarding Children Partnership with regards to the outcome of a Rapid Review or impact the decision to proceed, or not with a Child Safeguarding Practice Review.

They are, however, able to commission National Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews based on issues of national importance or reoccurring themes being identified.

 

How will a Child Safeguarding Practice Review progress?

Safeguarding Children Partnerships have autonomy on how they undertake a review, although there is guidance as to what a review should consider and what is included within the final report. A review is written by an independent author who has had no involvement in the case or the agencies who are taking part within the review. A review panel would normally support the review process and would be made up of representatives from the agencies who had involvement with the child and / or families the review is focusing on.

Practitioners are invited to be part of the review, and often through learning days known as Practitioner Events. These allow practitioners to explore the learning from the review and consider actions or changes in practice based upon their experience as practitioners working directly with children, young people and families.

Families, and where appropriate children, are also invited to be part of the review process. They are informed of the review as it is commissioned and will be asked to contribute as the review progresses. The review will also be shared with them at the end of the process prior to publication.
Once a review is complete and learning has been identified, an action plan is developed in conjunction with the agencies who took part in the review. This is to identify how the learning will be translated into changes in practice.

All identified learning from a review is disseminated to practitioners in a number of different ways including through briefings, inclusion within training, and development of learning sheets. Agencies are asked to ensure that learning is widely disseminated within their agencies.

Safeguarding Children Partnerships have a duty to publish completed reviews. These are done anonymously in order to ensure confidentiality.

 

Further information

Further information with regards to Rapid Reviews and Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews can be found in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018. The LSCP can also be contacted for further information on 0113 3786018 and lscp.info@leeds.gov.uk. If you are involved in a review, or are aware of a review with regards to a child or family you work with seek further information and support from your line manager.

Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership
www.leedsscp.org.uk
lscp.info@leeds.gov.uk