Reports into child deaths should be changed to allow all child protection professionals to learn lessons from tragedies like the Daniel Pelka case, it has been claimed
Children’s social workers reported not having enough time to read serious case reviews. Image: Phil Adams
The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) is calling for changes to the way serious case reviews (SCRs) are produced in light of research that shows that too few child protection professionals are seeing reviews and so lessons from them are not being learned.
A BASW survey of 238 child protection workers found that one in four of the respondents said that they never get to read SCRs once they are published, with just 27 per cent saying that they always get to read them.
The survey found that 17 per cent do not even get to read the recommendations, with more than two thirds (67 per cent) saying they “only sometimes” get to read the recommendations.
BASW said it has taken the decision to publish reports on a designated area of its website after 97 per cent of the respondents said they wanted to see all SCRs stored in one central location so there is continuous, easy access.
The association is also calling for SCR reports to each contain key lessons for all professionals involved with children’s services, as opposed to specific recommendations for the organisations involved in a single case.
And it wants briefing podcasts produced by the authors of the SCRs so that professionals can hear the common messages rather than the current “ad hoc” distribution of SCRs.
One social worker said: “I often hear about serious case reviews in the press before I am informed by my local authority.”
Another said: “Staff have so little time to read a serious case review given all the competing priorities and information being sent.”
BASW chief executive Bridget Robb said: “Serious case reviews have a dual purpose, as a learning opportunity for professionals and as a means of public accountability for a public service.
“We can understand the public perception that when serious case reviews are published there is a surge of publicity but then nothing much seems to be done with the findings.
“Serious case reviews focus on what was unique in each case. If they are to be used for professional learning, we also need them to identify a few key messages for everyone. This is not straightforward to do, but essential if they are to have wider use.
“We’d like to see better use of serious case reviews as a learning opportunity for all professionals tasked with protecting children.”
SOURCE: Children & Young People Now