A Serious Case Review (SCR) is 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 and there is cause for concern as to the way organisations worked together. The purpose of a SCR is for agencies and individuals to learn lessons that improve the way in which they work, both individually and collectively, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
WSCB a sub-group which oversees and quality assures all the SCRs undertaken by the Board, and provides advice on whether the criteria for conducting a review have been met. Any professional or agency may refer a case to WSCB to consider whether the criteria is met for a SCR. The Independent Chair makes the decision of whether to instigate a SCR, following recommendations from the SCR Sub group.
After the completion of a SCR, there is now an expectation that the final report is published in full. The report will include information on the review process, key issues arising from the case and recommendations / key issues for WSCB to consider. Additional information and guidance in relation to Serious Case Reviews can be found in the statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.
In addition to SCRs, WSCB also undertakes local Partnership Reviews. These reviews do not meet the SCR criteria, but are considered to offer good opportunities to identify relevant learning and ways in which multi-agency practice to safeguard children and young people can be improved locally.
The NSPCC Repository provides a single place for published case reviews to make it easier to access and share learning at a local, regional and national level.
The repository is accessible via the NSPCC library online, which has over 600 case reviews and inquiry reports dating back to 1945. There are also NSPCC Thematic Briefings available on a range of themes.
The Pathways to harm, pathways to protection: a triennial analysis of serious case reviews 2011-2014 is a study which examines serious case reviews (SCRs) considers findings from a 10-year period from 2003. The aim of the study is to provide evidence of key issues and challenges for agencies working singly and together.
- Baby J Published Report – April 2016: non accidental injuries to a baby whilst in the care of their parents (Themes include: adolescents parents;impact on parent’s background on their parenting capacity; homelessness; Common Assessment Framework; risk assessment)
- Child O – Overview Report (Haringey) – October 2015: Death by suicide of an adolescent, placed in Wiltshire, who had a history of self-harm, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts. (Themes include: child sexual exploitation)
- Child R & S Overview Report (Hampshire) – October 2013: Death of two siblings in 2012 at their family home in Wiltshire. Cause of death is still to be determined but it is believed that father drugged then suffocated Child R and Child S before hanging himself. Family were well known to services and the children had been looked after by Wiltshire local authority for a period of 7 months, which ended when they were returned to father’s care, 6 months prior to their deaths (Themes include: domestic abuse; parental substance misuse; acrimonious separation and conflict in regards to custody and contact; insufficient multi-agency assessment and planning; fixed mind set and rigid thinking by professionals)
- Child H Published Overview Report – September 2012: significant non-accidental injuries to a 5 month old baby. (Themes include: impact on parent’s background on their parenting capacity; paternal and maternal excessive drinking; acrimonious separation; conflict in the parental relationship; father’s previous prison sentence for violent assault; regular admittance of Child H to hospital; discharge planning; effectiveness of strategy discussions)
- Child H – Lessons Learnt