New centre pledges to drive up standards of case inquiries

A new centre for inquiries into the deaths of children and vulnerable adults is being launched to help services learn lessons from serious cases.

The Centre for Inquiries and Reviews will aim to improve the standard of inquiry and review reports for non-accidental deaths and serious injuries. It will be based at the joint faculty of health and social sciences at Kingston University and St George’s University of London.

Ofsted’s concerns

The centre is being launched with £10,000 in start-up funding from Kingston University, partly in response to concerns raised by Ofsted about the quality of serious case reviews after the inspectorate rated the standard of nearly a quarter of reviews in 2009 as inadequate.

It will also look into incidents where a person with a mental disorder has committed assault or homicide.

Recruitment under way

Ray Jones, professor of social work at Kingston University, said the centre had started recruiting up to 10 social work and social care professionals to conduct its inquiries.

They will be provided with training, administrative assistance and consultation, and their work will be monitored to ensure it is of the highest standard.

The centre will be involved in inquiries and reviews commissioned by Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards, Local Adult Safeguarding Boards and by NHS Primary Care Trusts and Mental Health Trusts.

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