Bronson Battersby case: social worker back at work as full case review announced

Practitioner continues to be supported, says Lincolnshire Council, as safeguarding partnership commissions local practice review into lessons for agencies from two-year-old's death

A man and woman reviewing some documents
Photo: makibestphoto/Adobe Stock

The social worker in the Bronson Battersby case is back at work and continues to be supported, her local authority has said.

The news came as Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) announced it was commissioning an in-depth review to learn lessons from the two-year-old’s death.

The social worker, from Lincolnshire County Council, found the dead bodies of Bronson and his father, Kenneth, in their flat on 9 January, almost two weeks after her last contact with Kenneth.

In the meantime, she had made two attempts to visit them, on 2 and 4 January, and searched for them at other addresses where  they might have been found.

She also contacted Lincolnshire Police for assistance in contacting the pair, on 2 January.

‘A devasting experience’ for staff

The council said the case was a “devastating experience for those working with the family”, and the social worker took time off to recover.

Lincolnshire provided the staff with regular contact from managers, supervisors and colleagues, and a range of trauma-informed support, alongside access to the council’s staff health and wellbeing service, which includes counselling provision.

LSCP has decided to commission a local child safeguarding practice review, led by an independent author, after carrying out an initial rapid review into the case. The national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel supports its decision.

What is a local child safeguarding practice review?

Under section 16F of the Children Act 2004, local safeguarding partners must identify “serious child safeguarding cases which raise issues of importance in relation to the area” and commission a practice review where they consider it appropriate.

In making this decision, they must consider whether the case highlights, or may highlight, improvements needed to, recurrent themes in, or concerns about inter-agency working in relation to, safeguarding or promoting the welfare of children. They must also consider whether the national panel has considered the case and concluded a local review may be more appropriate than a national one.

The purpose of the review is to identify safeguarding improvements. Partners must appoint a reviewer, who must produce a report including “analysis of the systemic or underlying reasons why actions were taken or not taken” and a summary of recommended actions.

The partnership must publish this report unless it considers it inappropriate to do so, though in such cases they must submit the report to the national panel and the government and publish any information they consider appropriate about recommended improvements.

LSCP’s independent chair, Chris Cook, said the review would “explore fully the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident and identify any potential improvements we could make”, with the family invited to contribute.

It will take about six months and will be published once other related investigations, including an inquest, have concluded.

Review into police conduct

Following Kenneth and Bronson’s death, Lincolnshire Police referred itself to the Independent Office of Police Conduct, which is reviewing whether there were any missed opportunities for the force to check on the pair sooner.

Unlike social workers, the police have powers to enter homes under section 17 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. This permits entry without a warrant in order to arrest someone for a serious offence or for the purposes of preventing serious damage to property or saving life or limb – though the latter is a high threshold to meet.

Cook added: “Our thoughts remain with the family at this difficult time.”

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4 Responses to Bronson Battersby case: social worker back at work as full case review announced

  1. Daniel February 28, 2024 at 9:41 pm #

    Sounds about right. Social workers having case loads that are unmanageable. They are too busy typing repeatative assessments and procedures. Have limited time to see clients

  2. Helen March 1, 2024 at 10:35 am #

    I believe the social worker and team went above and beyond from information shared with the public to date. Most dedicated

  3. Sharon Shoesmith March 1, 2024 at 11:07 am #

    I am delighted that the social worker has returned to work. Well done to her and all those who supported her. Also well done to the local authority and others who worked against this becoming another case of blaming and scapegoating social workers.

  4. David March 5, 2024 at 4:00 pm #

    Yes, blaming and scapegoating has been gong on for too long, and sadly remains on the part of managers in local authorities