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Children: Protection

Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) within how long after their completion local authorities are expected to supply his Department with copies of serious case reviews; (248680)

(2) what procedures his Department follows when it receives a full serious case review.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) are asked to provide an anonymised copy of each full serious case review to the Department for Children, Schools and Families as soon as possible after the publication of the executive summary. This is to inform biennial overview reports which analyse the key findings from serious case reviews taken as a whole and identify the implications for policy and practice. When an individual serious case review is complete the report is then evaluated by Ofsted. DCSF children and learners teams in the Regional Government Offices have a support and challenge role, in particular with respect to the implementation by LSCBs and local agencies of recommendations in individual serious case review reports.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many serious case reviews initiated in 2008 were not published within four months of their being requested by the local safeguarding board. (252944)

These data are not compiled centrally. The first annual Ofsted report on Serious Case Reviews, ‘Learning Lessons, Taking Action', published on 1 December 2008, gave information on 50 serious case reviews evaluated by Ofsted between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008. It noted that of the 50 reviews evaluated, five were completed within four months, although the report also observed that ‘a significant number of reviews were delayed because they were awaiting the outcome of coroners' courts and/or criminal proceedings'. Guidance in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006 is clear, that any delays in completing serious case reviews should not prevent early lessons learnt from being implemented.