Serious case reviews (SCRs) should be shortened and simplified, a new report has declared.
SCRs are held by local authorities whenever a child living in their area dies or comes to serious harm as a result of abuse or neglect, with a view to establishing better ways to vulnerable youngsters. A total 114 SCRs were held nationally in the year to March.
But the report, commissioned by the Department for Education, claims they have become overly complex and inflexible.
Researchers from the University of Kingston said SCRs in their current form are expensive and promote an “ethos of blame avoidance, apathy, defensiveness and increased workload”.
Many do not receive proper attention, they claimed. “…the number and dispersal of SCRs nationally means it is difficult to give them all local attention, and what gets attention is then skewed and determined by national media selectivity and coverage”.
SCRs produce an “overwhelming” number of recommendations and can be repetitive, with the result that childcare professionals pay less attention to them, the report adds. They are sometimes also written in inaccessible language.
The authors call on the government to review “the appropriateness of Serious Case Reviews as a
process for embedding learning across disciplines.”
The report is lengthily entitled A Study to Investigate the Barriers to Learning from Serious Case Reviews and Identify ways of Overcoming these Barriers. It can be read here.