Learning & Reviews
Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSCP) is resolute in its commitment to fostering a culture of reflective practice, learning and continuous improvement that enables safeguarding partners to:
- Identify and share concerns regarding safety and welfare of children.
- Highlight commonly recurring themes that require further investigation.
- Share learning, including from success, from across the safeguarding system.
To enable HSCP to undertake this function effectively it has built a strong Learning and Improvement Framework which includes scrutiny and assurance and undertakes Local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews.
HSCP undertakes regular auditing of multi-agency child protection in Hampshire. This work is commissioned by the Scrutiny subgroup and learning is disseminated to frontline practitioners via our training events and partner agencies.
In undertaking audits and reviews, HSCP is committed to the following principles:
- We will avoid excessive or unnecessary checks. Targeted quality assurance is more effective.
- We will prioritise assurance activities that provide opportunities to discuss practice and encourage professional challenge.
- We will be clear about the standard of practice that’s required.
- We will involve professionals/practitioners in audits and reviews.
- We will identify and share good practice.
- We will consider and strive to include the voice of the child.
HSCP uses information from Children’s Services, Hampshire Constabulary, health commissioners and providers, Public Health, district/borough/city councils, criminal justice agencies and others to assess the effectiveness of child protection and safeguarding arrangements across the Hampshire Local Authority area.
Our multi-agency dataset is aligned to the following themes:
- Children and families are able to access Early Help and it is effective.
- Thresholds are clear and appropriate; planning and decision making is effective.
- Children in need of protection are identified, safeguarded and supported.
- The local authority fulfils its corporate parenting role and looked after children and care leavers have good outcomes.
- Groups of children with particular needs are identified, safeguarded and supported.
- Children in specific circumstances are identified, safeguarded and supported.
- Children attend education and are kept safe.
- Children affected by and/or at risk of neglect are identified, safeguarded and supported.
- We are recognising the needs of children when considering the impact of domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental ill health in adults.
- Missing, exploited and trafficked (MET) children are identified, safeguarded and supported.
This information is reported on a bi-annual basis to Board members and the Scrutiny subgroup. Our priority is to ensure that the dataset is used by the safeguarding children partnership to identify and address emerging trends and to ensure that improved outcomes for children and their families can be evidenced.
A function of the HSCP is to conduct a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review after a child has died or is seriously harmed as a result of abuse or neglect whose permanent residence is within the Hampshire Local Authority area. The Hampshire National & Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review Procedure & Guidance sets out the arrangements that are in place to respond to these reviews and what happens once a referral is made to HSCP under Chapter 4 Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018).
The purpose of reviews of serious child safeguarding cases, at both local and national level, is to identify improvements to be made to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Reviews seek to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrence of similar incidents. They are not conducted to hold individuals, organisations or agencies to account.
‘Serious child safeguarding cases’ are those in which:
(a) abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected, and
(b) the child has died or been seriously harmed.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) states that 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 impairment is likely to be long-term, even if this is not immediately certain. Even if a child recovers, including from a one-off incident, serious harm may still have occurred.
Meeting the criteria does not mean that HSCP must automatically carry out a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review. Locally it is for the Learning and Inquiry Group, on behalf of HSCP, to determine whether a review is appropriate, taking into account that the overall purpose of a review is to identify improvements to practice.
Local Case Reviews
Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review reports are published on the HSCP website to enable the sharing of learning across the children’s workforce. All reports are anonymised for publication.
National Case Review Repository
In November 2013, the NSPCC in collaboration with The Association of Independent LSCB Chairs launched the National Case Review Repository. The repository provides a single place for published case reviews to make it easier to access and share learning at a local, regional and national level.
The NSPCC have put together a series of themed briefing documents highlighting the Learning from Case Reviews. Each briefing focuses on a different topic, pulling together key risk factors and practice recommendations to help practitioners understand and act upon the learning.