Serious Case Reviews

Statutory Guidance which underpins the work of LSCBs is very clear in its expectation that when things go wrong for children, through death or serious injury from maltreatment, there needs to be a rigorous, objective analysis of what happened and why, so that important lessons can be learnt and services improved in order to reduce the risk of future harm to children. It is also essential that these processes should be transparent, with findings of reviews shared publicly. LSCBs need to put in place and maintain a local learning and improvement framework which is shared across local organisations that work with children and families. A high profile element of this framework is the Serious Case Review (SCR). Details of SCRs can be found in the Working Together guidance.


The role of the Independent LSCB Chair in the SCR process is significant. It is the responsibility of the LSCB Chair to make the ultimate decision about whether the LSCB should commission a SCR, or a different process for learning lessons. The LSCB Chair also has to make the final decision about whether to publish the SCR report, based on the premise that all SCRs should be published, unless there are very compelling reasons not to.

Whilst the revised Working Together 2013 guidance has introduced greater flexibility about the methodology and processes which may be used in SCRs, it has also introduced a new element to the national scrutiny of the wider SCR contribution to child protection, through the "National Panel of Independent Experts on SCRs" The Association is engaged in discussion with the Department for Education about the role of the new national panel, its interface with the Association's Peer Consultation Scheme and the exercise of LSCB Chairs' independence.

The National Panel of Independent Experts on Serious Case Reviews

The National Panel advises local safeguarding children boards about conducting and publishing serious case reviews. The Serious Case Review Panel supports local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) with independent advice to ensure that all parties learn from serious child protection incidents.

LSCBs will conduct a serious case review (SCR) when a child is seriously harmed or dies as a result of abuse or neglect. The review identifies how local professionals and organisations can improve the way they work together.

The panel advises LSCBs about:

 * deciding when to conduct a serious case review
 * appointing the reviewers who will carry out a SCR
 * decisions on publishing SCR reports

For more information on the National Panel click here

The National Panel has published three reports. You can find these below



Barriers to Learning

Kingston University’s Institute for Child-Centred Inter-professional Practice (ICCIP) was awarded a contract from the Department for Education (DfE) to undertake a small study investigating barriers to learning from Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) in order to identify ways of overcoming these barriers and ensure that any learning is embedded in policy and practice.

Click here to see the report

The Triennial Review of SCRs 2011-14

Completed by UEA with a team led by Marian Brandon from CRCF and Dr Peter Sidebotham from Warwick University.  This was published in March 2016. The study aimed to continue to provie child protection professionals and others with key evidence of issues and challenges in cases where children have died, or been seriously harmed and there are concerns about how agencies work together. 
The report can be found here.

Research in Practice Briefings

RIP was commissioned to provide 5 briefings based on the findings of the Triennial Analysis of SCRs 2011-14; each providing a summary of learning and key messages to different groups. Each briefing can be revied by clicking on the links. 

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The National Repository


The National repository of published serious case reviews is a collaboration between the Association and NSPCC. The aim is to hold all case reviews in a central location, so the learning contained within them is easier to access, more information. There is a section dedicated to this on our website. Click here for further information.