The NSPCC has slammed the serious case review system claiming there is little evidence they increase learning and “too often they do not say simply and clearly what went wrong”.
Wes Cuell, director of children and family services at the charity, told BBC Radio 4 that the government’s two-yearly summary of SCR outcomes was like reading the “same detective story over and over again”.
He said: “We spend a vast amount of money writing these things, preparing for them, a lot of time and effort and worry in evaluating how good they are but we don’t know whether these things are actually working”.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “The NSPCC believes that SCRs must focus on the key moments where agencies could have done more to help the child, where they missed opportunities or made mistakes. In particular, they should reveal whether professionals saw and spoke to the children alone and whether they waited too long before acting to protect a child.”
He added that the NSPCC welcomed the government’s changes to the Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance on SCRs which now required local safeguarding children boards to report back on how agencies were acting on recommendations.
The comments come as the Welsh Assembly Government revealed moves to pilot new arrangements to improve serious case reviews.
A spokesperson said: “The deputy minister for social services, Gwenda Thomas, is aware that serious case reviews take far too long and often seem to repeat what has been reported previously.”
The Welsh Assembly Government has set up working groups to examine how the system can be improved. The spokesperson said the government expected some areas to pilot the new arrangements towards the end of this year, with the new arrangements being introduced next year.