National guidance for child protection committees undertaking learning reviews

Guidance to support child protection committees to reflect, learn and improve child protection systems and practice when a child or young person dies, is significantly harmed, or was at risk of death or significant harm or where effective practice has prevented harm or risk of harm.

Annex 4: Family Liaison Strategy

An important function of the Review Team is the formation of a Family Liaison Strategy that ensures that families are included in any review process that is being undertaken in a planned and structured way.

The strategy should include:

  • identification of Review Team members who are responsible for informing the family of the review, this would usually be the Chair of the Review group, however it may be another professional who is involved with the family and is considered to be the most appropriate person
  • identifying who the family is and who should be invited to contribute their views. This could include
    • parents
    • step parents
    • carers
    • siblings
    • grandparents
    • aunts and uncles
    • the child/young person
    • other significant family members or close family friends

It is important to take into account the possible dynamics of a family’s structure to ensure that the appropriate family members are contacted. This is particularly important in situations where families may be split in some way.

  • informing the family that a Review is to be undertaken will include explaining the purpose of the Review, the process of the Review and the request to have their views taken into account by the Reviewer and the Review Panel. It is good practice to provide the family with the available information leaflet that includes contact numbers of the Review Team members who will be in communication with them. (A format for an information leaflet for families can be found in the Supporting Resources available in the Supporting files menu alongside this Guidance)
  • consideration of any particular cultural or lifestyle considerations, religious beliefs, or any communication requirements in terms of language or disability
  • consideration of sensitivities due to experience of bereavement due to the death of a child, significant abuse that a child may have experienced or that the child or children may no longer be in parental care
  • the planning for meeting of parent/carer or guardian with the Reviewer and Review Group Chair to invite contribution of their views, should be arranged for a mutually convenient time and venue. The planning for the venue should take into consideration safety issues
  • updating the family on completion of the review and sharing the findings when it is possible to do so
  • if the review is paused, stopped or delayed the family must be informed of this.
  • consideration should be given to the discussion being documented, with the family’s consent

In some cases, where there is an ongoing criminal investigation a Police Family Liaison Officer may have been appointed. If a Learning Review is to take place in such a situation then the Police Family Liaison Officer should be invited to meet with the Review Team, before any contact with the family, to help plan and support the Learning Review Family Liaison Strategy.



Back to top