What is a child safeguarding practice review?

A child safeguarding practice review (CSPR) is a multi-agency case review carried out by the local safeguarding children partnership (LSCP) of the circumstances of serious child safeguarding cases.

Serious child safeguarding cases are those in which:

  • abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected
  • the child has died or been seriously harmed.

The authority to conduct a child safeguarding practice review is described in the working together to safeguard children guidance.

The purpose of a review is to:

  • establish whether there are lessons to be learnt from the case about the way local professionals and organisations work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
  • identify what those lessons are, how they will be acted on, and what is expected to change as a result, and therefore, improve inter-agency working and better safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

A CSPR is not a criminal enquiry and is seperate from an investigation undertaken by the police. This process is not about blame or any potential disciplinary action, but about an open and transparent learning from practice in order to improve inter-agency working.

CSPR Process

On agreement that a case meets the criteria for a CSPR, a CSPR panel of senior managers who were not directly involved in the case will meet to look at the work of all the professionals and agencies who have been involved, and set terms of reference under which the review will be undertaken. Each organisation will produce an independent report containing full details of when and what services they gave the family.

The CSPR panel will be supported and advised by an independent reviewer, who is a specialist in child protection and CSPR. The reviewer considers all the reports and writes an independent overview report that looks at whether expected standards of practice have been met, if policies and procedures were followed, and whether there are any lessons that can be learned about the way organisations work together to keep children and young people safe.

When a review has been completed, organisations will agree what actions they need to take to change the way they support children, young people and their families and these will be monitored by us.

Timescales

We aim to complete reviews within six months, however, this timescale may be impacted by other parallel processes, such as criminal investigations, coroner inquests, or family proceedings.

Practitioner Involvement

Once a decision has been made to start a CSPR, we will ask the relevant agencies to identify authors to write their independent agency report. The authors will be invited to attend an author's briefing where they will meet the independent reviewer and receive guidance on what is required for the report.

Following this, the authors will be encouraged to identify any practitioners within their agency who worked with the family. They will meet with you to discuss the case, your involvement, and your perspective on what aspects of the system influenced you as a worker. The author from your agency will provide you with a letter from the independent reviewer, explaining the review process and inviting you to practitioner learning events.

The style and format of the practitioner learning events may vary for each review, however, the aim is for all the practitioners who worked with the family during the agreed timescales to meet and discuss their views and identify key learning areas from the case.

Part of the role of your agency's report author and panel member is to provide support to you during this process and you will be allowed to bring a colleague with you for support at practitioner's meetings.

Please note that if there is a police investigation ongoing regarding the case and you are called to be a witness as part of the proceedings, this may cause delays in contacting you and discussing your views.

Overview Report

The final overview report will be published on our website unless it it harmful to other children to do so or cannot be published in any way that avoids identifying those involved.

In some situations, where there is a chance of other individuals being identified, the full report will not be published although an anonymised version may be made available on the NSPCC website. We will make sure that the report is shared with you before it is published via your agency author or agency panel member.