The guidance set out arrangements for a new system of national and local child safeguarding practice reviews, which will replace serious case reviews, and the establishment of a new national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.
Safeguarding partners will be responsible for identifying serious child safeguarding cases which raise issues of importance in relation to their area, and commissioning reviews of those cases where they consider it appropriate to do so.
Serious child safeguarding cases’ are those in which: abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected; the child has died or been seriously harmed. ‘Serious harm’ includes serious or long-term impairment of mental health or intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. It should also cover instances of impairment of physical health.
Local child safeguarding practice reviews
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 provides that the purpose of local child safeguarding practice reviews is to identify any improvements that should be made locally to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
When the safeguarding partners receive information about the known or suspected abuse or neglect of a child in their area, where death or serious harm has occurred, they should undertake a concise investigative exercise to understand both the relevant circumstances and the involvement of local agencies. This should be completed, and a decision taken on next steps, within five working days of receipt of this information and any immediate learning shared appropriately.
When the initial investigative exercise is complete, the safeguarding partners should send a copy of the findings to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. When they do so, they should also advise the Panel whether in principle they already consider that a local child safeguarding practice review is appropriate or not. The Panel will consider the information and will advise the safeguarding partners whether they intend to undertake a national child safeguarding practice review.
The draft Statutory Instrument “the National and Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review (England) Regulations” sets out proposed provisions covering criteria for national and local reviews, and on reviewers and reports. (See Annexe B in the consultation document Changes to statutory guidance: Working Together to Safeguard Children; and new regulations: Government consultation).
National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 provides for the establishment of a national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.
The Panel is responsible for commissioning and supervising reviewers for national child safeguarding practice reviews, where cases raise issues that are complex or of national importance.
The Panel will receive notification of all child safeguarding cases where a child has died or is seriously harmed, as well as copies of all completed local reviews. Using this data as well as other available evidence, the Panel will be responsible for identifying improvements which should be made locally or nationally to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.