Our website is set to allow the use of cookies. For more information and to change settings click here. If you are happy with cookies please click "Continue" or simply continue browsing. Continue.

Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

16 OCT 2009

A third of serious case reviews judged 'inadequate'

Ofsted's latest evaluation of 173 serious case reviews (SCRs) has judged 34% as inadequate.

Learning lessons from serious case reviews: year 2 is the second evaluation report of serious case reviews carried out and completed between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009. It follows on from Learning lessons, taking action: Ofsted's evaluations of series case reviews 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008.

The findings show that several weaknesses in practice identified in the previous report remain across the various groups. Instances of weak management and lack of joint working within and across agencies remain in some areas. Other examples of weak practice include failure to focus on the needs of the child, insufficient staff expertise, not making adequate risk assessments, and poor identification of ethnic or social cultural issues.

Government guidance requires that where a child dies and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor, the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) must conduct a serious case review.

The 173 serious case reviews carried out and completed between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, relate to 219 children and include 113 cases of child deaths as a result of an incident. Of the 219 children identified, 68% were known to social care services at the time of the incident.

Ofsted also found that some local areas are learning lessons with 23% of reviews being judged good and 43% adequate.

The report, published yesterday, found evidence to suggest that reviews are being carried out in a greater number of cases and by a larger number of LSCBs. These reviews are being carried out more quickly and with greater levels of independence, and the backlog of historic cases is largely now addressed. In addition there is evidence that LSCBs are co-operating more readily where a review spans more than one area.

Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, said: "There are encouraging signs of improvement identified in this report. Agencies and local authorities are looking more rigorously at their processes and practices to learn lessons from tragic incidents. Learning these lessons will help protect more children from harm.

"However, much more work needs to be done to address the remaining weaknesses and to ensure that lessons lead to improved outcomes for children and young people. It is of great concern that over a third of reviews are still judged inadequate.

"We all have a duty to protect children from harm. It is crucial that those involved in child protection use the serious case review process to deliver change and improvement," Ms Gilbert concluded.

Red Book Plus

Red Book Plus

Family Court Essential Materials

This ready reference guide for all family court practitioners and judges provides a portable...

Available in Family Law Online
Family Law

Family Law


"the principal (monthly) periodical dealing with contemporary issues" Sir Mark Potter P

More Info from £320.00
Available in Family Law Online
Subscribe to our newsletters