Rapid Reviews & Process
Serious child safeguarding cases are those in which:
- Abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected; and
- The child has died or been seriously harmed.
Serious harm includes (but is not limited to) serious and/or long-term impairment of a child's mental health or intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. It should also cover impairment of physical health. This is not an exhaustive list. When making decisions, judgment should be exercised in cases where the impairment is likely to be long-term, even if this is not immediately certain.
Notifications of Serious Child Safeguarding Events
Where a local authority in England knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected, the local authority must notify the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) if –
The child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority's area; or While normally resident in the local authority's area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England.16C(1) of the Children Act 2004 (as amended by the Children and Social Work Act 2017)
The local authority must notify the Panel of any event that meets the criteria within 5 working days of becoming aware that the incident has occurred. The local authority should also report the event to the safeguarding partners in their area (and in other areas if appropriate) within 5 working days. Where the child was Looked After, the local authority must also notify the Secretary of State and Ofsted that they have died, regardless of whether abuse or neglect is known or suspected.
The duty to notify serious child safeguarding events to the Panel rests with the local authority. Information on the process to be followed using the Child Incident Notification System can be found on GOV.UK.
Responsibilities of the Safeguarding Partners in the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Process including the Rapid Review
Safeguarding partners must make arrangements to:
- Identify serious child safeguarding cases which raise issues of importance in relation to the area; and
- Commission and oversee the review of those cases, where they consider it appropriate for a review to be undertaken.
- Others agencies working with children should inform the safeguarding partners of any incident which they think should be considered for a child safeguarding practice review.
Undertaking a rapid review
The safeguarding partners should promptly undertake a rapid review of any case which meets the criteria for a serious child safeguarding incident (see Section 2, Notifications of Serious Child Safeguarding Events), in line with any guidance published by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. This should be completed within 15 days of the safeguarding partners becoming aware of the incident. The aim of this rapid review is to enable safeguarding partners to:
- Gather the facts about the case, as far as they can be readily established at the time by contacting local agencies and asking them to produce a brief overview report;
- Discuss whether there is any immediate action required to ensure children's safety and share any learning appropriately;
- Consider the potential for identifying improvements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
- Decide what steps should be taken next, including whether or not to undertake a child safeguarding practice review.
The brief overview report from local agencies should determine the level of their involvement with the child and the family (if any) and provide an overview of any key significant events and the dates of their involvement. Agencies should also report on any areas of inter agency practice that may highlight future learning either because it worked well or because it caused concern. Agencies should also secure any relevant record/files in a secure place and keep a copy of the report they submitted to the rapid review as they may be required to provide more detailed information if a national or a local safeguarding practice review is subsequently commissioned.
The Timescales for the Rapid Review Process and the Decision of the Panel
Deciding whether to carry out a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review