Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Finding Serious Case Reviews

Last year, in response to an enquiry, I put together a handout for social work students at the University of Leicester about how to find Serious Case Reviews.  I have revised the text for this posting, and made the revised handout available to students via the "My Subject" page for Social Work. I checked the links on 5th August 2015.

What is a Serious Case Review (SCR)?

In England, Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) conduct a review of any “serious case”.  A case is a “serious case” if abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected, and if a child has died or been seriously harmed and where there is concern about how agencies have worked together to safeguard that child.  SCRs are conducted in accordance with guidance published as chapter 4 of the 2013 publication Working together to safeguard children.

The Serious Case Review Panel is a national panel of independent experts who advise LCSBs about conducting and publishing SCRs. 

The NSPCC have information about Serious Case Reviews. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are different arrangements, and the NSPCC has information (scroll down). 

Publication of SCRs

The guidance states, in relation to publication of reports:

“All reviews of cases meeting the SCR criteria should result in a report which is published and readily accessible on the LSCB’s website for a minimum of 12 months. Thereafter the report should be made available on request.”   
(Working together to safeguard children, p. 71)
This suggests that SCRs are easy to find.  However, LSCBs must consider, when publishing SCRs, how to manage the impact of the report on the child and the family, and must comply with the Data Protection Act and any court orders.  They must also send the report to the national panel of independent experts one week before publication, so that the panel can advise if the report should not be published.   

In my (limited) experience, reviews seem to be available only in edited or redacted form, or only as summaries.  This is perhaps explained by the presence of court orders or legal proceedings, of data protection issues, or of guidance from the national panel.

Finding SCRs

Names of subjects

Legal and other issues may mean that names of children and families are removed.  This may make it difficult to find a specific report.  If you cannot find it by name of child, try searching by name of place.

NSPCC Library Catalogue
LCSBs are asked to submit published reports to the NSPCC for inclusion in a national repository of SCRs, which was set up in late 2013.  The repository forms part of the NSPCC’s Library catalogue.  There is a link to the National Case Review Repository here, and links to reviews published in 2014 and 2015 (scroll down).   

Social Care Online
Some SCRs are indexed in Social Care Online.    Doing an Advanced search for the subject term serious case reviews seems to find many, and searching for relevant search terms will find particular ones.

LSCB websites
Otherwise you should be able to locate a report via the website of the LSCB in question.  You can find the LSCB website by following links from the appropriate local authority or by a web search.

No comments: