Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) by law undertake a serious case review (SCR) whenever a child dies or is seriously injured and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor.

On the 12 March 2009 Lord Laming published his report The Protection of Children in England: A Progress report. In his report, Lord Laming made a number of recommendations to strengthen and clarify the SCR process. Lord Laming’s recommendations were accepted in full by the Government with an undertaking to update statutory guidance set out in Chapter 8 of Working Together to Safeguard Children. The revised guidance aims to improve the quality, consistency and impact of serious case reviews and is directed in particular at LSCBs.

Proposed changes to the guidance include:

  • clearly setting out that the prime purpose for an SCR is to learn lessons both at an individual and inter-agency level;
  • emphasising the importance that SCRs are undertaken in a way that promotes learning and;
  • extending the suggested timescale for completing an SCR from four to six months, reflecting feedback from LSCBs and the inter-relationship between SCRs and other processes, such as criminal prosecutions or coroners inquests.

Comments in response to the suggested revisions are invited by 23 October 2009. The consultation can be accessed here.