Serious Case Reviews

Serious Case Reviews are reviews undertaken when a child has been seriously harmed or killed and there is concern about how agencies have worked together. They look at the involvement of agencies with a child and their family to determine whether there are any lessons to be learned. This page describes the process of Serious Case Reviews as set out in Working Together 2013.

Criteria for triggering an SCR

 A serious case is one where: (a) abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected; and (b) either (i) the child has died; or (ii) the child has been seriously harmed and there is cause for concern as to the way in which the authority, their Board partners or other relevant persons have worked together to safeguard the child.

Regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children's Boards Regulations 2006 Working Together 2013 also states an SCR should be carried out when a a child dies in a custodial setting or was detained under the Mental Health Act 2005.


Model of an SCR

LSCB's may use any learning model which is consistent with the principles in this guidance, including the systems methodology recommended by Professor Munro.

Working Together 2013

Actions required

1If a child dies or is seriously injured and abuse or neglect is suspected the designated person for child protection in that agency or deputy must be notified. Follow your internal agency procedures for an unexpected child death.All staff and managersImmediate
2LSCB Business Manager verbally notified (and followed up in writing providing a case summary and information as to why they consider the criteria to be met)Designated person for child protection or suitable representativeImmediate
3Consideration against criteria for SCR and recommendation made to Chair of LSCBLSCB SCR SubgroupWithin 10 working days of receipt of notification
4Decision made as to whether SCR should be initiatedChair of LSCBWithin one month of receipt of notification
5aIf decision that no SCR required then LSCB may decide that a multi-agency learning review is requiredLSCB 
5bIf decision that an SCR is to be initiated then letter sent to all Chief Executives (or equivalent) of agencies involved with the child or family notifying them of the SCR and requesting them to secure all records relating to the child and family - dependent on the type of review this letter may also ask the agency to identify a manager to take part in the review processChair of LSCBWithin 1 working day of decision
6Ofsted and National Panel of Independent Experts notified of decisionLSCB Business ManagerWithin 1 working day of decision
7Health agencies notify CQC of SCR process being initiatedRelevant health managerWithin 5 working days of decision
8Lead reviewer(s) commissionedLSCB (may be through SCR Panel)Within 6 months of decision to initiate SCR
9Details of lead reviewer(s) to be notified to National Panel of Independent Experts
10Terms of reference for the SCR set out
11Determination of whether the family are to be involved and if so how they will be involved and who will make contact
12Dependent on the method of SCR used, further information such as chronologies and independent management reviews may be required which will be subject to internal review in respective agencies
13Draft overview report considered along with recommendations
14Overview report signed off and recommendations accepted
15Decision made as to whether overview report is to be published
16Overview report submitted to the National Panel of Independent Experts along with decision as to whether it will be published or not with reasons if notLSCB Business ManagerAt least one week prior to publication of overview report
17Copy of overview report sent to Serious Incidents Briefing Team at Department for EducationLSCB Business ManagerAt least one week prior to publication
18Overview report publishedLSCB Business ManagerWithin 28 days of overview report being signed off
19Action plan developed to implement recommendations and agreed by LSCBLSCB (may be through SCR Subgroup)Within 28 days of overview report being signed off
20Progress in relation to action plan reviewed by LSCBLSCB (may be through SCR Subgroup)Dependent on timeframe set out in action plan