National guidance for child protection committees undertaking learning reviews

Guidance to support child protection committees. An updated version of this guidance was published in June 2024.

Ministerial Foreword

Learning from cases where children have died, been significantly harmed or put at risk of significant harm is a vital part of an effective and improving child protection system.

Reflecting on learning enables agencies to identify good practice in protecting children, and to ensure that any necessary practice changes are made, not only in the area where the harm occurred, but throughout the country to better protect children in the future.

The 2017 Child Protection Systems Review highlighted the need to “move beyond apportioning blame to learning together about what is helping and what is hindering efforts to help children.” This new Learning Review Guidance, which replaces the National Guidance for Child Protection Committees - Conducting a Significant Case Review (2015), supports reflection, learning and improvements in systems and practice by reviewing events when children or young people have been harmed, placed at risk of harm, or where effective practice has prevented harm or risk of harm.

Learning Reviews are more proportionate, flexible and timely to ensure that learning is relevant to the current practice context and is more systematic in approach, moving beyond any shortcomings and seeking to understand why events took place, with a strengthened focus on how learning can be actioned and implemented. The new model has a greater focus on involving families in the review process, engaging practitioners throughout the review period and establishes a standardised approach to conducting reviews in cases that involve criminal proceedings.

The Scottish Government has established a group in partnership with Child Protection Committees Scotland, to support local areas to implement the new model. Our collective efforts are key to supporting a culture of learning and continuous improvement in this critical area.

Clare Haughey MSP
Minister for Children and Young People



Back to top