Serious case reviews on the rise after government ceases oversight

Family Law|April 22nd 2014

The number of Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) has noticeably increased since 2012 after the government eliminated Ofsted’s oversight of the commissioning and publishing process.

Serious case reviews (SCRs) are held by local safeguarding children’s boards (LSCBs) when a child dies or comes to harm as a result of abuse or neglect. Their aim is to improve the methods by which local authorities keep children safe in the future.

LSCBs are inter-organisational committees formed by each local authority.

There were 114 SCRs commissioned between April of 2013 and March of 2014, 71 of which were published. This is up from 81 commissioned in 2012, when 13 were published.

Before Ofsted’s removal from the oversight process in 2012, the numbers were drastically lower. In 2011 only 55 SCRs were commissioned, and only 12 were published.

Speaking to Children & Young People Now, Sue Woolmore, chair of the Association of Independent Local Safeguarding Children Board Chairs said the removal of Ofsted from the process was one of the central reasons for the increase.

“When SCRs were being evaluated by Ofsted it created a greater focus on that process of evaluation. When it ended it enabled LSCBs to fully focus on the review itself.”

Revisions to SCR guidance released last year had also allowed greater focus on what was important, she added.

“Commissioning and publishing a SCR was a big challenge as the process was very prescriptive for Local Safeguarding Children Boards. What the Working Together revisions did was give LSCBs much more flexibility. For example, under the old system a LSCB would have been obliged to look far more deeply into family history, up to 20 years. Now, if it was appropriate they need not go back that far.”

Author: Stowe Family Law

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