The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel: Annual Report 2018 to 2019
Since our first meeting in July 2018, we – the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) – has received rapid reviews relating to notifications for over 500 serious child safeguarding incidents.1 This is a significant and troubling number of cases where children under 18 years have either died or been seriously harmed in the context of abuse and neglect.
We are in a privileged position to be able to look in detail at what happened to these children and work with local safeguarding partners2 to extract the learning so that the system can improve its response to the needs of children and their families.
The statutory guidance is clear that safeguarding is everyone’s business.3We take our responsibility to have oversight of the child safeguarding system seriously. We believe that this report gives a unique view of safeguarding practice in England formed by reading and evaluating 538 rapid reviews in our first 17 months of operation. Our analysis has enabled us to see patterns in practice which may have otherwise been overlooked and to draw together and share learning which can influence the work of safeguarding partners and practitioners locally and nationally. We hope the unique practice insights we have offered will support national and local efforts to improve practice.
We recognise that every day, multi-agency services and practitioners across England are successfully safeguarding children and promoting their welfare, by helping to support the complex social and health needs of a wide range of families. Schools, health services, local authorities, the police and probation services, as well as a myriad of other agencies, charities and community groups are all striving to achieve high standards of practice for children and families within limited resources.
When a child dies, or is seriously harmed, it is important to review the practice of all agencies involved with the child and family to reflect on what that practice tells us about the protection and support offered. Critically, through systematic review, we can build a picture of child protection practice more generally, highlighting repeat practice themes and focus on what needs to change.