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Social workers “have nothing to fear” from serious case review publications

BASW issued a firm welcome to a UK government plan to publish serious case reviews in full, with identifying details removed.

During a busy week for social work policy announcements, Tim Loughton, the parliamentary under secretary of state for education, said publishing the reviews in full would enable “lessons to be learned as widely and thoroughly as possible” when child protection tragedies occur.

He added: “Professionals need to be able to understand fully what happened in each case, and most importantly, what needs to change in order to reduce the risk of such tragedies happening in the future.”

BASW responded by urging child protection agencies to make the “fullest possible use of serious case reviews”. Nushra Mansuri, BASW joint manager England said: “SCRs are a learning tool that enable professionals to examine the processes and outcomes in a case in order to determine what could have been done more effectively. We welcome the government’s review of the current system as it does have some shortcomings.

“BASW believes that SCR’s should be fully anonymised to protect the identities of the people involved in the cases and to avoid detracting from the real issues. They should be published in full so that everyone can understand clearly and transparently the complex situations that many professionals work hard to resolve and support.

“Social workers are among the best public servants, we have nothing to fear from the public knowing how difficult our job is.” Ministers have written to all Local Safeguarding Children Board chairs and directors of children’s services to confirm that the overview report and the executive summary of all new serious case reviews initiated from now on should be published in full.

Full publication will only be prevented where compelling child welfare concerns are identified. The process will start with the publication of the two serious case reviews centred on the case of Peter Connelly.

All overview reports should be anonymised and executive summaries should have identifying details removed “to protect the privacy and welfare of vulnerable children and their families”.

As part of her review of child protection social work [see below], Professor Eileen Munro has also been asked to consider how serious case reviews could be strengthened and whether there are alternative learning models that could be more effective and efficient.

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