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This guidance has been superseded by the 2021 Learning Review guidance, available at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
Governance of significant case reviews

Governance of significant case reviews


Chief Officers must ensure that their Child Protection Committees are properly constituted and resourced so that arrangements are clearly focused and relevant to all members of the committee itself. This also applies to any sub-committees and partner agencies, and to the wider public. Child Protection Committees must work within the wider planning framework so that their work is fully integrated with other planning forums and is as effective as possible.

Chief Officers ensure that the chair and vice chair fully understand their specific role, responsibilities and remit, and that they have an in-depth knowledge of child protection. Chief Officers will have agreed their working arrangements, terms of office and reporting and accountability arrangements.

Each Child Protection Committee will have approved procedures for managing referrals to the Chair and/or committee in terms of a possible SCR, taking decisions about the appropriateness of the referral and how it should then proceed, and also for commissioning an SCR.

Some CPCs may have an established group whose role is to oversee on behalf of the CPC matters relating to SCRs. Where there is an established group, local arrangements should outline the key roles and responsibilities of the group. Key agency representatives should be identified to attend the group meetings. In this guidance a reference to CPC could be a reference to such a group where local delegation allows.

The CPC should seek to inform all those who will input and who have a legitimate interest in the SCR at each stage of the process. As each significant case will be different, the names and roles of those with an interest might vary. Throughout the process, the CPC should consider whether there is anyone else who should be informed, or how much information should be offered to different parties on the SCR. It is important to be clear who needs to be aware of the review, what information they need, and when and how this will be provided. Each CPC should agree with local agencies who their contact points should be and their role in the process. Everyone should be clear about whether they have been contacted 'for information' or for decision making.

CPCs will wish to consider carefully who should lead the review in light of the particular case. This is explained more fully in the Considerations to be made by CPC section.

During the course of an SCR any evidence of criminal acts or civil negligence relating to the case which comes to the attention of the lead reviewer or review team should be reported to the CPC Chair.