Publication - Advice and guidance

National Guidance for Child Protection Committees for Conducting a Significant Case Review

Published: 31 Mar 2015
Children and Families Directorate
Part of:
Communities and third sector

This guidance has been superseded by the 2021 Learning Review guidance, available at

National Guidance for Child Protection Committees for Conducting a Significant Case Review
Purpose of the significant case review (SCR)

Purpose of the significant case review (SCR)

A significant case review should seek to:

  • Establish the full circumstances of the death/serious harm of the child (where parallel processes like a criminal investigation are in place, it may not be possible to gather and report full information);
  • Examine and assess the role of all relevant services, relating both to the child and also, as appropriate, to parents/carers or others who may be connected to the incident or events which led to the need for the review;
  • Explore any key practice issues and why they might have arisen;
  • Establish whether there are lessons to be learned from the case, or good practice to be shared, about the way in which agencies work individually and collectively to protect children and young people;
  • Identify areas for development, how they are to be acted on and what is expected to change as a result;
  • Consider whether there are gaps in the system and whether services should be reviewed or developed to address those gaps; and
  • establish findings which will allow the CPC to consider what recommendations need to be made to improve the quality of services.

Good practice principles

SCRs should:

  • Be objective and transparent
  • Have a clear remit
  • Be completed to set timescales
  • Be sensitive to parallel processes
  • Be sensitive to the needs and circumstances of children and young people and families
  • Be sensitive to the needs of staff
  • Deliver clear recommendations/findings to support the CPC to improve outcomes
  • Not be escalated beyond what is proportionate taking account of the severity and complexity of the case
  • Evidence accountability and assist the CPC/Chief Officers to promote public confidence in the rigour of the process and services to children and young people in their local area.