Safeguarding Practice Reviews
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 also places a duty on local Safeguarding Partners to undertake reviews of ‘serious child safeguarding cases’, which are those where a child dies or is seriously injured and abuse or neglect is known or suspected.
As explained in the statutory guidance, the purpose of reviews of serious safeguarding cases is to learn from what has happened and use this to identify improvements to the local multi-agency system that safeguards and promotes the welfare of children. Reviews should seek to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrence of similar incidents.
There is also a National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, often referred to as simply the National Panel, which has responsibility for ensuring that learning from local serious safeguarding cases benefits practitioners working with children and families throughout the country and, when there are wider systemic issues, is able to reach the government and policy makers.
Anyone in Havering who is aware of an incident that may meet the criteria for a serious child case – that is, where a child dies or is seriously injured and abuse or neglect is known or suspected – should report it to the Havering Safeguarding Children Partnership (SCP) and can do so using the notification form.
Once the Havering SCP receives notification of a serious safeguarding incident, it is required in turn to notify the National Panel within 5 working days, and to complete a Rapid Review of the case within 15 working days. The Rapid Review is the first stage of the multi-agency case review process and its purpose is to:
- gather the facts about the case, as far as they can be readily established at the time;
- discuss whether there is any immediate action needed to ensure children’s safety and share any learning appropriately;
- consider the potential for identifying improvements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
- decide what steps they should take next, including whether or not to undertake a child safeguarding practice review.
Once it completes a Rapid Review, the Havering SCP sends a copy to the National Panel and confirms the decision reached locally about whether to progress to the second stage of the multi-agency case review process, which is a formal Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review.
The National Panel then responds either approving or challenging the local decision, and confirming whether or not they consider the case requires a National Child Safeguarding Practice Review.