Munro looks to health sector for SCR inspiration

Professor Eileen Munro is looking to the health sector to help re-shape serious case reviews. This will form part of her final report to be published in mid-May.

In the second instalment of her review of England’s child protection system, published today, Munro said she was considering whether to recommend adopting a systems approach for all multi-agency case reviews, building on health sector experience.

The move may come as a surprise to some who expected her to endorse fully the SCR model developed by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (Scie), which she was involved in. Munro acknowledged the progressive thinking behind this model, but said it is too early to say it should be used on a national basis.

“The Scie model offers a working prototype but it is still at an early developmental stage compared to other sectors and we want to encourage a plurality of similar models,” the report said.

Munro says SCRs should not necessarily be limited to child deaths but could be used as a regular “health check” on how a child protection system is functioning or in response to “near misses”.

“It is vital we learn from these tragic cases…yet they are not representative of the majority of professional work with families. Moreover, such tragedies are traumatic for all involved…therefore their aftermath is likely to be a more difficult context within which learning can be achieved.”

Munro recommends that Ofsted evaluations of SCRs should end. The review said that, instead, the quality of learning more generally should be given greater coverage within the overall inspection process. She is also investigating how to merge the child death overview process into serious case reviews to maximise national learning from both processes.

The review is also looking at how to strengthen the role of local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs), investigating if there is a basis to revise criteria for initiating SCRs and the benefits of a national arbiter for case review standards and methods and a national training programme in the systems approach.

Munro is also considering the creation of a central pool of reviewers to support local areas.

More from the second interim report

Social workers should be working more closely with universal services

Munro wants unannounced inspections for all children’s services

Communication skills and tools must improve

Social work management role should be split

Report says ICS creates as many problems as it solves

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Related articles:

Special report on the Munro review

Munro review states need for unannounced inspections for all children’s services

What makes for a successful serious case review?

Munro: social workers need to be closer to universal services

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