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Directors of Children's Services welcome ending of serious case reviews

Move to timelier, local reviews will help partners learn lessons

The Association of Directors of Children's Services has welcomed the Wood report reviewing the role and functions of Local Safeguarding Children Boards and, within it, serious case reviews.

The government, in its response to the report, says that it will introduce a new statutory framework which will set out clear requirements for the key local partners – local authorities, the police and health services – but allow them the freedom to determine how they operate to improve outcomes for children.

The partners will be required to settle governance arrangements and decide a range of issues, including:

The new arrangements will be underpinned by legislation.

The current system of serious case reviews will be replaced with a system of national and local reviews. The government will legislate to establish an independent National Panel which would be responsible for commissioning and publishing national reviews and investigate the most serious and complex cases which would lead to national learning.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards (and successor bodies) partners will be required to carry out and publish reviews into cases which are considered likely to lead (at least) to local learning.

Dave Hill President of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, said:

"Whilst we are still working through the full details we welcome Alan Wood's report and broad recommendations on the roles and functions of LSCBs. LSCBs perform an important function within the wider safeguarding arrangements in place to protect vulnerable children from harm and whatever the future arrangements might look like it is important that this remains the principle focus and statutory objective of the reformed Board. The ultimate prize of course is that more children and young people will be kept safe from harm and go on to live happy and successful lives.

"The current system of SCRs presents serious barriers, is too costly and time consuming and often by the time the review publishes local practice and sometimes policy has moved on significantly. Timelier, local reviews that help partners gather and embed learning in local practice is most welcome as is the recommendation that support for and oversight of CDOPs is moved to the Department of Health."

The Wood report is here. The government's response is here.