Publication - Advice and guidance

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

Published: 31 Mar 2015
Directorate:
Children and Families Directorate
Part of:
Communities and third sector
ISBN:
9781785442087

This guidance has been superseded by the 2021 Learning Review guidance, available at https://www.gov.scot/publications/national-guidance-child-protection-committees-undertaking-learning-reviews/.

National Guidance for Child Protection Committees for Conducting a Significant Case Review
The significant case review and the learning cycle

The significant case review and the learning cycle

The Care Inspectorate will carry out a retrospective review of relevant reports from significant case reviews completed between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2015.

The Care Inspectorate will publish guidance about this.

The CPC should consider how the analysis and recommendations from an SCR can best inform learning and practice. Types of learning that can be shared, exchanged or disseminated from significant case reviews include:

1. Learning about undertaking a review - What are the key challenges? How have CPCs overcome these? What changes or provisions could be made to support this process?

2. Learning from the analysis and recommendations produced during the course of the review - What issues are evident in the documentation of the case? What challenges for practice are evident? What recommendations were made and why?

3. Learning relating to the follow-through and implementation of the recommendations from a review - How are single and multi-agency recommendations implemented? How is this measured and monitored - have they been fulfilled and have they made an impact on practice (outcomes for children)? What are the enablers and barriers to facilitating this process?

Capturing learning in relation to the process, output and follow-through of conducting significant case reviews could be achieved in different ways:

Aspect

Approaches to capturing the learning

Process

Internal/external quality assurance to appraise the process
Practice exchange/communities of expertise to share experiences, perspectives and skills
Research to critically appraise/analyse the strengths and limitations of arrangements used by CPCs

Output

Research role - critical appraisal/analysis of the narrative (analyses) contained in the report and the recommendations made to draw out messages for practice, policy and research

Follow through

Internal/external quality assurance to appraise the process

Practice exchange/communities of expertise to share experiences, perspectives and skills

The CPC should produce a summary of cases they have considered over the course of the year and introduce these into the learning cycle, whether the decision was to undertake an SCR or not. CPCs will determine the urgency for action planning and implementation within the learning cycle according to the significance of the issues raised.

In light of the findings and recommendations from some SCRs CPCs may need to review their own guidance and procedures. This could be done through the quarterly CPC chairs forum meetings or, if more urgent, by specially convened meetings.

Some recommendations may be for consideration at national level and will need to be led by the Scottish Government. Some may have implications for a range of bodies, for example, universities and colleges, or scrutiny and regulatory bodies such as the Scottish Social Services Council.

SCRs are one source of information that can contribute to a multi-agency agenda for learning as well as for practice and policy development. Other sources include the information generated through research and evaluation, joint self-evaluation[18] using, if appropriate, quality indicator frameworks, inspection and audit and organisational knowledge (in other words, the understanding and awareness that exists among the staff in different organisations). Together, these can point to critical issues for practice. Each also represents an opportunity to identify good practice that can be shared.

Learning from effective practice rather than learning from mistakes is another approach. However, learning from what works, for whom and in what circumstances may require a shift in emphasis on learning lessons from what has gone wrong. Hammond (1996) sums up the reasoning behind this approach: 'The traditional approach is to look for a problem, do a diagnosis and find a solution. Since we look for problems we find them. By paying attention to problems we emphasise and amplify them.' (Hammond 1996, pp 6-7.)

Evidence suggests that one method of learning from success is through 'appreciative inquiry'. This is a way of learning and building on existing good practice and is undertaken in a positive environment of collaboration. It is a facilitated approach undertaken with a range of staff. It identifies the essential elements of best practice and explores ways of using this knowledge to make improvements. This is achieved by exploring essential features of participants' experience of existing best practice, collectively developing a shared vision of the most desirable practice for the future and working together to develop, design and create this practice.


Contact

Email: ChildProtection@gov.scot