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This guidance has been superseded by the 2021 Learning Review guidance, available at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
Annex 4

Annex 4

Examplar: remit

The following example provides a framework for CPCs in the development of a remit for use during an SCR. It includes suggested references to the key areas covered in the section Purpose Of The Significant Case Review and can be adapted to fit with local arrangements and the specific case being considered.

N.B. The SCIE Learning Together[21] approach does not use terms of reference and instead sets out specific questions for the review team to consider. These questions help focus beyond the specific case and are dependent on what aspect of the multi-agency system the Child Protection Committee wants to understand.

Remit for significant case review following [insert brief details of event e.g death of child A]


In accordance with the 2014 Scottish Government 'National guidance for Child Protection Committees for conducting a significant case review', the [ CPC name] has decided to conduct a significant case review following [details of incident].

For the purposes of significant case reviews, the Scottish Government identifies a child generally as 'a person under the age of 18'.

[Insert basic details about the case including statutory measures in place at time for example, LAC/ Child protection registration]

[Insert basic information about ICR process and where this reported to and when]

Decision to hold a significant case review

[Insert full information regarding the reasoning behind decision to hold SCR including both first and second test/criteria for SCR. Also consider inserting text related to commitment to learning and interest from for example media, Scottish Government, Care Inspectorate, local communities]

Purpose of the review

This is an example of suggested wording and should be adapted to reflect your CPC position and purpose

The purpose of the review is to establish whether there are corporate lessons to be learned about how better to protect children. To that end, the review is a process for learning and improving services and is a means of recognising good practice.

The review will assess the agency and inter-agency decision making and involvement with the family and others relevant to the case.

Time period to be covered

The period to be covered by the review will be from [Insert timeframes]


This section should cover the practices being used, for example SCIE methodology. The suggested wording below refers to traditional methods. This may need to be discussed and agreed with COPFS depending on the circumstances of your case.

Established practices for conducting an SCR should be used, including reviewing case files and records, development of a multi-agency chronology and timeline of what information was known to whom and when, and considering policies and guidance available to staff during the timescales the review will cover.

In accordance with the requirements of the COPFS, there will be no interviews with relevant professionals or family members until the criminal proceedings have concluded.

Following advice from COPFS, the review will take place in two phases, the first being consideration of information from files, records and policies/procedures that were in place before the incident [this will be done according to the timeframe set for the review]. Any learning from this could be reported and acted on. The second phase will commence at the end of the criminal proceedings [dependent on the nature of any ongoing criminal proceedings] and will take account of any new information. Interviews with relevant staff will be part of this second phase and files and records may also need to be revisited in this phase.

Any significant risks/needs identified by the lead reviewer during the review process will be reported immediately to the relevant chief officer [The reporting lines may differ and should be agreed on following internal discussions] from the agency concerned.

The lead reviewer will have unrestricted access to policies, protocols, procedures, case records and, at a date to be set, relevant staff. All necessary arrangements will be put in place to facilitate this.

General practitioners and practice staff are independent contractors. Their co-operation will be facilitated by [this should be discussed and agreed internally], as required. This is an example and inclusion will depend on situation.

Administrative support for the lead reviewer will be provided by [This crucial area requires internal discussion and agreement]

Specific issues to be considered in the review

[Insert specifics regarding the key areas to be considered by Lead Reviewer - bullet points may be helpful]

Involvement of family members

The following wording should be discussed with COPFS where there are ongoing criminal proceedings.

Subject to advice from COPFS, the family will be notified that an SCR will be undertaken and that contact will be made by the lead reviewer at an early opportunity in advance of criminal proceedings commencing. For this matter the family will include [Insert specific info related to your case]

Staff welfare

Wording below is an example for two-phase SCR - insert positions as agreed depending on your case

Full consideration must be given to staff welfare and support throughout the review, particularly for those who had direct involvement in the case and may be interviewed as part of the review process (Phase 2 following conclusion of criminal case). This will be the responsibility of each service/agency. Consideration should be given to a single point of support for staff. Regular updates to staff should be agreed by the Review Team.

Ethnicity, religion, diversity, gender, disability, language and equalities

The review will take account of any learning in respect of ethnicity, religion, diversity, gender, disability, language and equalities. [This is broad so may need specifics]

Organisations involved in the review

Example wording - the case and local arrangements will inform wording

The following representation should make up the review team as single points of contact from each of the relevant agencies to support the lead reviewer. The lead reviewer will chair this group as appropriate and report to the case review group.

  • The list will depend on your specific case

Administrative support will be provided to the review team through the [requires internal discussion and agreement]

The review team will act as single points of contact for any information required and will assist in setting up any interviews related to their particular service/agency. The chair of the review team will be the lead reviewer who will report to the case review group.

If any other agencies are known to have had involvement with the family during the period under review, the review team will ask them to provide relevant information as required.

Chief officers from all partner agencies expect all relevant services to assist in the review process. Any difficulties will be addressed by the lead reviewer through the case review group and if necessary with the relevant chief officer of the agency concerned.

Support to lead reviewer

Example wording- you may have a critical friend(s) arrangement which differs to this

The partners will arrange to provide a critical friend(s) if needed to assist the lead reviewer in their role, as required.

Reporting arrangements

Example wording the case and local arrangements will inform wording

The lead reviewer should complete the agreed template for the review report as shown in Appendix 1. Along with the main review, the reviewer will be expected to provide an executive summary. The lead reviewer should ensure that the summary is fully anonymised and written so as to avoid the need for future redactions.

The draft report should be submitted to the case review group for consideration and thereafter to the chair of the CPC.

Expert opinion

Wording may differ depending on local arrangements

Although not considered necessary from the outset, the use of expert opinion in a consultative capacity will be kept under review.

Criminal investigations

May or may not apply to your case

Police Scotland is investigating the circumstances of the case and will report to the Procurator Fiscal.


May or may not apply to your case

There will be ongoing liaison with COPFS through [named contact who is part of Review Group/Team useful but this will require internal discussion and agreement]

Other parallel reviews

Include whether any notifications have been or need to be made- e.g. death of LAC, SIR

Media coverage/enquiries

The case and local arrangements will inform wording here

There is high level media interest in the case, locally and nationally. CPC have agreed a broad media statement, if this is required. There will be key points as the criminal case proceeds where the media may become involved and ask for information/statements.

There should be no proactive engagement with the media; rather due process should be followed, however, the Review Team and CPC should be prepared at key milestones for media requests, in particular any subsequent trial, sentence and the publication of any review.

A single point of contact for media enquiries is to be agreed. [insert person responsible following internal discussion and agreement] will be responsible for the media strategy on behalf of all partners in respect of any queries regarding the SCR and dissemination/publication, following the conclusion of the SCR.

Family members will be informed of the findings of the significant case review in advance of publication of the executive summary.

Process and timescales

The case and local arrangements will inform wording here

  • Appointment of lead reviewer and review team by [insert agreed date]
  • The first meeting of the review team to take place once the lead reviewer is confirmed. The first meeting with the lead reviewer will scope and agree the process of the review and agree an outline of the work plan and timeline. This will take into account the two distinct phases of the review as outlined earlier.
  • The review team will submit a written progress report on the SCR regularly to the [insert local reporting arrangements as discussed and agreed]
  • Any anticipated delays in the review process must be highlighted by the lead reviewer and agreed by the chair of case review group [insert local arrangement as discussed and agreed]
  • The final draft report and will be submitted to the chair of the case review group [insert timescale as discussed and agreed] for consideration and the development of an agreed action plan in response to identified areas of learning and recommendations. The lead reviewer will also prepare an executive summary, which will be fully anonymised for publication. In the first instance, the Review Team will correct factual errors or misunderstandings in drafts of the report. Any unresolved matters should be referred to the case review group and ultimately to the CPC if required. Local reporting arrangement may differ.
  • The final report, executive summary and action plan will be submitted to the Case Review Group and thereafter to the [insert local reporting arrangements as discussed and agreed]
  • The final report will be owned by the CPC . The decision regarding what should be published will rest with them. [insert local arrangements as discussed and agreed internally]

Dissemination and publication


The case and local arrangements will inform wording

  • The CPC will agree a local dissemination approach which ensures the spread of any identified good practice as well as learning, particularly to front line staff.
  • In order to promote national learning, the findings and recommendations from the SCR will be shared nationally with the Care Inspectorate, and through the Scottish Child Protection Committee Chairs Forum (SCPCCF) or by specially convened meetings or seminars. This will be taken forward by the Chair of the CPC.


The case and local arrangements will inform wording

  • The CPC has decided that an anonymised executive summary will be published. The CPC will arrange to give the identified family members a copy of the executive summary, and will discuss the findings of the review with them before publication.
  • The CPC will decide who should get a copy of the full report or the executive summary based on recommendations by the case review group.
  • The CPC will give full consideration to the child's right to privacy and the child's right to be protected.
  • Publication of the report/executive summary will be discussed with COPFS.
  • The CPC will consider whether an oral briefing for relevant parties in advance of publication is required.
  • The CPC will ensure that they have considered the integrity of staff and the duty of care.