The government has pledged to overhaul the recruitment and training of serious case review chairs by spring 2010.
In an interim progress report, the National Safeguarding Delivery Unit said that by the spring, it will have identified the key skills for SCR authors and chairs, commissioned a training model to drive up learning and improvement in SCRs, and ensured that systems are in place to secure adequate numbers of panel chairs and authors.
From April 2010, the NSDU plans to recruit a new team of safeguarding advisers with specialist skills and knowledge of child protection.
By next month, the unit will have reviewed arrangements for the capture and dissemination of learning for practitioners, managers and policy makers and identified improvements. A more detailed analysis of trends and common themes is to be published in spring 2010.
Meanwhile, the government has also published a revised version of Chapter 8 of Working Together to Safeguard Children, which replaces the 2006 version.
Changes include clearly setting out that the prime purpose of an SCR is to learn lessons at both individual and inter-agency levels. The suggested timescale for completing an SCR increases from four to six months.
Children’s minister Delyth Morgan said: “Serious case reviews are a critically important part of our child protection arrangement, enabling lessons to be learned and action to be taken to prevent deaths and serious injuries in the future.
“We know that in many areas, serious case reviews do result in changes to improve policy, professional practice and inter-agency working. But there is also evidence that steps can be taken to improve their quality, consistency and overall impact.
“Sadly, there will always be situations where nothing could have been done to prevent the death of a young person but it is our first duty in government and as a society to make sure we are doing all we can to keep our children safe.”