Serious case reviews

The main purpose of a serious case review is for agencies and professionals to learn lessons and act on them to improve the way that they work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

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Serious case review documents

Child J:

Child K:

Opening in a new wi

When a serious case review should be undertaken

When abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected and either the child has died or the child has been seriously harmed. It's where there is cause for concern as to the way the authority, their partners or other relevant persons have worked together to safeguard the child.

In addition, even if this criteria is not met, a serious case review should always be carried out when a child dies:

  • in custody
  • in police custody
  • on remand or following sentencing
  • in a Young Offender Institution
  • in a secure training centre or a secure children's home

where the child was detained under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

This includes cases where a child died by suspected suicide.

The safeguarding partnership should also consider carrying out a serious case review in certain other circumstances. For national guidance, see Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.

What happens in Hertfordshire

The Serious Case Review subgroup meets regularly to consider whether serious case reviews should be undertaken following notifications to the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.

At the end of each serious case review, a report is produced and published for 1 year.

Partnership case reviews

Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership recognises the importance of learning lessons from cases where failures in partnership working have resulted in adverse outcomes for a child.

Therefore work has continued on the development of partnership case reviews that can be used for significant events or cases that fall below the criteria for conducting a serious case review.

The approach used involves practitioners and managers identifying the areas for improvement in a facilitated workshop. Such an approach creates a 3 tiered process where lessons are learnt on:

  • an individual basis by the participants in the partnership case review
  • a local basis where the services involved are generally grouped together around specific areas
  • a strategic basis when the identified lessons are reviewed by the Serious Case Review subgroup with a view to establishing whether they can / should be applied to broader safeguarding processes.