Through the work of the LSCB’s Learning and Improvement Sub-Group, partner agencies are encouraged to share learning from a range of individual audit and scrutiny activities. In addition representatives share relevant findings from local and regional inspection and research.
The LSCB maintains oversight of partner agencies’ self-audits in respect of the safeguarding standards required of their services. In addition, the Board provides independent scrutiny through its programme of inter-agency case file audits and learning reviews.
The LSCB carries out inter-agency case file audits linked to the key priority areas set out within its current business plan.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 requires the LSCB to ensure that knowledge established through a wide range of quality assurance and learning activity leads to understanding and as a result improvement in services. Understanding of effective practice and areas requiring improvement is gleaned through serious cases reviews, child death reviews and child protection incident reviews.
Child protection incident reviews
Child protection incidents that fall below the threshold for a serious case review (SCR) are commissioned by the LSCB and undertaken on an inter-agency basis. These learning reviews inform the development of policies, procedures and training practices that effectively safeguard children.
The LSCB guidance will enable partners to notify the LSCB of cases where it is considered that criteria for a serious case review may be met and/or cases will provide important learning that enable improvements to be made.
Serious case reviews
Regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Boards Regulations 2006 requires LSCBs to undertake reviews of serious cases.
The purpose of serious case reviews is to:
- establish whether there are lessons to be learned from the case about the way in which local professionals and organisations work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
- identify clearly what those lessons are, how they will be acted on and what is expected to change as a result
- improve intra- and inter-agency working and better safeguard and promote the welfare of children
Serious case reviews are not enquiries into how a child died or who was responsible; that is a matter for the Coroner’s and Criminal Courts to determine.
Further information on serious case reviews in Bracknell Forest and national reviews can be found on the learning from serious case reviews page.
Child death reviews
Learning established as a result of the work undertaken by the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) is disseminated through the LSCB and its partner agencies. Further details of this work can be found on their website.
Key areas of learning identified by the LSCB
It is important that professionals are able to:
- assess the vulnerability of children whose families are homeless and the challenges services face when families move outside of their jurisdiction
- understand the dynamics and challenges of working with domestic abuse
- assess individuals parenting/caring responsibilities when addressing ‘anger management’ problems
- recognise possible injuries / marks that should give rise to concerns in regard to young children as stated within the LSCB Bruising Protocol
- determine early resolution in respect of contradictory medical opinion and necessity for children to be thoroughly examined
- share learning between LSCBs
- undertake appropriate levels of training for all relevant staff
In addition to the above quality assurance activity, the LSCB routinely monitors the work of its partner agencies through the analysis of key performance data. This enables the board to scrutinise trends in agencies’ activities and, where necessary, to provide independent challenge in regard to the effectiveness of their services. The LSCB currently monitors the following key areas:
- missing children
- child sexual exploitation
- domestic abuse
- substance misuse
- mental health
- early help
- children and families that are homeless
- vulnerable children and young people
- core safeguarding information for children in need
- private fostering
- youth justice
- managing allegations against members of the children’s workforce
- workforce Information including caseloads and vacancies
- safeguarding training