Serious Case Reviews
Professionals and organisations protecting children need to reflect on the quality of their services. When things go wrong there needs to be a thorough analysis of what happened and why.
It’s important that lessons can be learnt and services improved to reduce the risk of future harm to children. When a child has been seriously harmed or died, and abuse or neglect is suspected or known to have happened, and there are concerns about the way agencies worked together, then the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB) will undertake a Serious Case Review (as defined in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015).
Findings and recommendations from the Serious Case Review, or SCR, will be published in full in a report, which will be publicly available on this website. The purpose of the SCR will be to learn from what happened in individual cases so that future tragedies can be prevented.
Further information about how the WSCB undertakes Serious Case and other reviews can be found here: hyperlink to the learning and improvement page
Published Serious Case Reviews
The most recent Serious Case Review report published by the WSCB is available below.
Learning from Serious Case Reviews
Learning from both national and local SCR’s is embedded in the WSCB’s multi-agency training courses. The training programme includes a 90 minute learning from SCR’s briefing delivered by the WSCB. A copy of the presentation is here: Case Reviews – Oct 16
The WSCB also publishes a series of summary learning from SCR’s briefings which is updated quarterly and disseminated to professionals. The latest briefing document (October 2016) can be downloaded here:
Child Sexual Exploitation Learning from national Serious Case Reviews:
Local Learning from Serious Case Reviews
Child Sexual Expolitation Learning from local reviews:
Child G – Case Study
Below is a Case Study drawn from the Child G Serious Case Review. The Case Study highlights significant features of the case and the learning for professionals and partner agencies.
Child G – Who’s Looking Out for the Teenagers? – A One day Conference for Professionals
A Wirral Serious Case Review highlighted the need for practitioners to have a greater understanding of the risks faced by older teenagers. A number of concerns were raised and it was felt that the WSCB should embark on a large scale workshop to highlight the main issues raised in the review. In response to this the WSCB held a development day.
The day involved more than 150 multi-agency practitioners moving from table to table at half hour intervals to experience eleven different presentations, sessions and discussions with each table hosted by specialist colleagues from Health, Youth Service, Children’s Services, the Response Service, Adolescent Crisis Team, Youth Offending Service, Health Services, Wirral Metropolitan College, Transitions Team, Catch-22 and the Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector.
These were the topics for the day:
- Child Sexual Exploitation and Runaways
- Housing and Homelessness
- Substance Misuse
- Mental Health
- Learning Difficulties and Autism
- Relationships and Domestic Abuse
- Offending Behaviour
- Leaving Care and Transition
- Diversionary Activities
The workshops were vibrant and very well received. Teen Wirral were represented and one of the staff sat in on many sessions. The Wirral Youth Theatre gave a powerful performance to highlight issues of domestic abuse in teenage relationships.
Learning from the Conference
The learning has been incorporated into the multi-agency training from the WSCB and was widely shared with partners.
A summary of the day is available here:
Key Learning Messages:
- Teenagers can be just as vulnerable and in need of our help as younger children
- Be aware of the needs of vulnerable teenagers especially the corrosive impact of long term neglect
- Maintain healthy scepticism and respectful uncertainty
- Share information across agencies to ensure services are targeted and co-ordinated
- Have a clear understanding of the thresholds of need
- Make sure all professionals know how to access procedures and advice
- Escalate concerns if you feel a child remains at risk
- Take responsibility for professionals excellence and access training
- Have access to reflective supervision
The learning was summarised into three awareness raising posters with key messages for professionals:
Child F – Case Study
A second Case Study is included for the Child F Serious Case Review. This case was undertaken in 2009 following the drowning of a young girl by a family member.
A recommendation from this case was for the WSCB to ensure professionals have access to multi-agency training about Parental Mental Health. This course now runs regularly and details are on the training page: https://www.wirralsafeguarding.co.uk/courses/
Learning from Local Reviews
The WSCB also undertakes reviews of cases which do not reach the threshold for a SCR but are reviewed because the case is likely to provide useful multi-agency learning or the circumstances of the case were unusual. The reviews of these cases are not published but the learning is shared with the partnership and included in WSCB training.
The posters below capture the learning from recent cases reviewed by the WSCB:
- Child 2 – The case reviewed a young person who was the perpetrator of a serious crime. The young person had been looked after in a kinship carer arrangement and had been known to services for an extended period of time.
2. Child 3 – This case was reviewed because it was suspected that a young person may have been being coerced into a forced marriage.
3. Child 4 – is a baby who drowned, but survived with permanent injuries, having been left unsupervised in a baby bath seat.
The learning from the case included professionals, especially midwives and health visitors reinforcing the safe use of bath seats and bath safety advice. Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust produced a Bath Safety Advice Leaflet which is routinely given out to families.
4. Child 5 – was an ex child looked after who was the victim of a physical assault. The case highlighted the need for care leavers to be supported if they feel isolated and for accommodation to be provided as close to family as possible when requested.
5. Child 6 – was a young girl who tragically died after accidentally setting fire to her clothes after playing with a lighter she found at home.
The review led to the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service highlighting the dangers of lighters and matches and issuing advice. This was also highlighted in the CDOP newsletter in summer 2017. The newsletter can be accessed below:
Learning from Reviews – Key Messages
The WSCB also periodically distils lessons from Serious Case Reviews into posters for professionals. These can be downloaded here. There is space on the posters for you to add the contact details of your safeguarding lead:
Referring Cases to the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board
All agencies and professionals in the WSCB partnership can refer cases to be considered for Serious Case Review or for multi-agency review below the SCR threshold. Before a referral is made the professional should discuss the case with their safeguarding lead. Professionals can also consult about potential referrals with the WSCB Business Manager ([email protected]).
Referrals are made using the Case Referral Form (available below). Forms should be securely emailed to:
All referrals for potential Serious Case Reviews are considered by the safeguarding board’s case review committee as per its statutory responsibility against the criteria for a serious case review published in Working Together (2015)
The WSCB will send its proposal to undertake or not undertake a serious case review to the National Panel in London who will either approve or not approve the decision.
If a case does meet the threshold for a serious case review the WSCB will appoint an independent external reviewer to lead the review. If the case does not meet the threshold the safeguarding board will decide whether to undertake its own critical incident or learning review.
For guidance about how to inform the WSCB of a notifiable incident involving a child please follow the link: