Slough Safeguarding Children

Safeguarding Practice Reviews, Serious Incident Notifcations and Rapid Reviews: Understanding the process

Slough safeguarding partnership uses the definitions of these terms as described in Working together 2018. The terms are used interchangeably in local narrative which can cause confusion, so it is important to be clear about what the terms mean and to understand the processes involved.

A serious incident:

16C(1) of the Children Act 2004 (as amended by the Children and Social Work Act 2017) states:

Where a local authority in England knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected, the local authority must notify** the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel* if –

(a) the child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority’s area, or

(b) while normally resident in the local authority’s area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England.

*This is reference to the National Safeguarding Practice Review Panel which scrutinises all decisions made by Slough local safeguarding practice review group

CLICK HERE for more details on how the national panel works.

**this notification is a formal on line form. Locally, Slough Children's Services Trust are responsible to send the notification to Ofsted the Dfes  and to the local Safeguarding Partnership within 5 days of the incident occurring.

Safeguarding partners must make arrangements to:

  • identify serious child safeguarding cases which raise issues of importance in relation to the area and
  • commission and oversee the review of those cases, where they consider it appropriate for a review to be undertaken.

In practice this means that partners who have identified such a case should  refer to the local safeguarding practice review group.

If you have identified such a case, discuss with your representative on the safeguarding practice review group and if you then wish to proceed, complete THIS FORM and send to betty.lynch@slough.gov.uk.

This means that the safeguarding partnership can receive referrals  from any of the partner representatives on the safeguarding practice review group and/or it can receive a notification from Slough Children's Social Care Trust.  In some cases, the safeguarding partnership can receive referrals from partners and a notification from the Children's Trust on the same case.

The receipt of a notification from SCST and/or a referral from a partner will generate a Rapid Review.

The aim of a rapid review is to enable safeguarding partners to:

• gather the facts about the case, as far as they can be readily established at the time

• discuss whether there is any immediate action needed to ensure children’s safety and share any learning appropriately

• consider the potential for identifying improvements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children

• decide what steps that should be taken, including whether or not to undertake a child safeguarding practice review

Working together sets a deadline of 15 working days for the completion of a rapid review. Locally, deadlines are set in accordance with local arrangements.

Rapid reviews can very often, and swiftly highlight learning about single or multi-agency processes.

From Working together 2018

"When a serious incident becomes known to the safeguarding partners, they must consider whether the case meets the criteria for a local review. Meeting the criteria does not mean that safeguarding partners must automatically carry out a local child safeguarding practice review. It is for them to determine whether a review is appropriate, taking into account that the overall purpose of a review is to identify improvements to practice. Issues might appear to be the same in some child safeguarding cases but reasons for actions and behaviours may be different and so there may be different learning to be gained from similar cases. Decisions on whether to undertake reviews should be made transparently and the rationale communicated appropriately, including to families".

Where the case does not meet the criteria for a formal safeguarding Practice review, the safeguarding practice review group can also agree to request a single agency review or.a local multi-agency learning review, with a focus on core practice areas.

The criteria which the local safeguarding partners must take into account include whether the case:

highlights or may highlight improvements needed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including where those improvements have been previously identified

highlights or may highlight recurrent themes in the safeguarding and promotion of the welfare of children

highlights or may highlight concerns regarding two or more organisations or agencies working together effectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children

is one which the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel* have considered and concluded a local review may be more appropriate

Safeguarding partners should also have regard to the following circumstances:

where the safeguarding partners have cause for concern about the actions of a single agency

where there has been no agency involvement and this gives the safeguarding partners cause for concern

where more than one local authority, police area or clinical commissioning group is involved, including in cases where families have moved around

where the case may raise issues relating to safeguarding or promoting the welfare of children in institutional settings82

Timescales are indicative and subject to variations. For each case, timescales are agreed by the local SPR group. CLICK HERE for a quick guide to indicative timescales.

For further information on the process, please contact betty.lynch@slough.gov.uk.

Process will be reviewed and published in September 2020

Safeguarding practice reviews must be published.

Reports and executive summaries of serious case reviews will be published here as they become available.

See the Safer Slough Partnership web pages for Domestic Homicide Reviews

More information on national learning can be found on the NSPCC resources website.