The Liberal Democrats have pledged to publish anonymised serious case reviews in full, as part of their general election manifesto.
The party hopes that increasing the learning from “mistakes of the past”, contained in full SCRs, will help them to hit their target to reduce child maltreatment by at least 70% over the next 30 years.
Responding to critics who have argued that full publication would put at risk the identities of vulnerable children, the Liberal Democrats’ shadow children’s secretary, David Laws, said: “We should start with the principle that as much of a serious case review as possible should be published in an anonymised form.
“Clearly there may be special circumstances where full publication wouldn’t be suitable. In such a situation, parts of the full review could be redacted.”
The party’s pledge backs calls from the Conservatives for full publication.
But Sir Paul Ennals, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, has questioned the value of full publication. He said: “I wish people would move away from the issue of publication, which is only important to the media and politicians. People need to be reminded about the purpose of SCRs, which is that local authorities need to learn from them.”
Labour, which does not support full publication, recently published a model format for serious case review executive summaries as part of its revised version of Working Together to Safeguard Children. It suggested that executive summaries should include the action plan and recommendations from the SCR.
The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto also committed them to Labour’s target of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020 and to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK law, with the aim of ending child detention.
The party has also backed moves by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to establish quick-report buttons on all social networking sites.