Child Practice Reviews (CPRs)
In accordance with The Safeguarding Boards (Functions and Procedures) (Wales) Regulations 2015, Regional Safeguarding Children Boards have a statutory responsibility to undertake multi-agency Child Practice Reviews in circumstances of a significant incident where abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected.
The prime purpose of practice reviews, as defined in The Safeguarding Boards (Functions and Procedures) (Wales) Regulations 2015, is to identify any steps that can be taken by Safeguarding Board partners or other bodies to achieve improvements in multi-agency child protection practice.
While reviews may vary in their breadth and complexity they should be completed in a timely manner. Lessons learned from practice reviews should be disseminated effectively and any recommendation arising should be implemented promptly so that the changes required result wherever possible, in children being protected from suffering or harm in the future. Where possible lessons should be acted upon without necessarily waiting for the completion of the review.
Practice reviews are not inquiries into how a child died or was seriously harmed, or into who is culpable. These are matters for coroners and criminal courts, respectively to determine as appropriate.
In accordance with Welsh Government guidance, Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 – Working Together to Safeguard People Volume 2 – Child Practice Reviews, there are two types of review. Please see below for the criteria for undertaking each type of review.
Criteria for undertaking a Concise Review
A Safeguarding Board must undertake a concise child practice review in any of the following cases where, within the board area, abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected and the child has;
- Died; or
- Sustained potentially life threatening injury; or
- Sustained serious and permanent impairment of health or development; and
The child was neither on the child protection register nor a looked after child in the 6 months preceding-
- The date of the event referred to above; or
- The date on which the local authority or relevant partner* identifies that a child has sustained serious and permanent impairment of health or development.
Criteria for undertaking an Extended Review
A Board must undertake an extended practice review in any of the following cases where, within the area of the Board, abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected and the child has;
- died; or
- sustained a potentially life threatening injury; or
- sustained serious and permanent impairment of health or development; and
The child was on the child protection register and/or was a looked after child (including a person who has turned 18 years of age, but who was a looked after child) on any date during the 6 months preceding -
- the date of the event referred to above; or
- The date on which a local authority or relevant partner* identifies that a child has sustained serious and permanent impairment of health and development.
Serious case reviews
In Wales before the introduction of Regional Safeguarding Children Boards in 2013, Local Safeguarding Children Boards were responsible for carrying out safeguarding functions under S.32 (2) of the Children Act 2004. The Local Safeguarding Children Boards (Wales) Regulations 2006 require that the Local Safeguarding Children Board for the area must conduct a serious case review where abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected and:
- a child dies; or
- a child sustains a potentially life-threatening or serious and permanent impairment of health or development, this may include cases where a child has been subjected to particularly serious sexual abuse.
Further information on this can be found in Chapter 10: Serious Case Reviews in Safeguarding Children: Working Together under the Children Act 2004.
In relation to publication of reports, SCR Full Overview Reports were not intended for publication. Chapter 10.36 states that ‘in all cases, the LSCB overview report should contain an Executive Summary that will be made public, which includes as a minimum, information about the review process, key issues arising from the case and the recommendations which have been made. Such publication will need to be timed in accordance with the conclusion of any related court proceedings. The content will need to be suitably anonymised in order to protect the confidentiality of relevant family members and others’.
The NSPCC library has a chronological list of all historic Executive Summaries or Overview Reports of Serious Case Reviews or multi-agency Child Practice Reviews published by year. To search their database, click here.