Government admits SCR action plans should be made public

The government has softened its stance on the publication of serious case reviews (SCRs), agreeing that action plans should now be included in every executive summary.

The change of heart emerged in the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ response to the public consultation on SCRs. The summaries are usually the only part of the reports released to the public.

The previous 2006 version of Chapter 8 of Working Together to Safeguard Children, the section presenting SCR guidance, contained less detail about the content of the executive summary and did not explicitly mention the action plan.

The revised guidance, which came into force on 18 December last year, states that an action plan should be included as well as information about the review process, key issues arising from the case and recommendations.

Those members of the review should also be identified by job title and organisation but not by name. The government has also agreed to extend the time in which a SCR should be completed from four to six months.

Deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz welcomed the move, particularly in the wake of the court case involving two boys who took part in a violent attack on two others at Edlington, near Doncaster.

Berelowitz said the executive summary of the review from Doncaster Council was insufficient to instil confidence that the right lessons had been learned, and she questioned the “good” rating it had been given by Ofsted. She identified the lack of an action plan as a major shortcoming of the executive summary.

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