Child Abuse Review Volume: 18 Issue: 3 Dated: May-June 2009 Pages: 195-204
Based on an analysis of recommendations from serious case reviews involving child abuse and neglect in one strategic health authority area (SHA) in England, this study classifies recommendations from these reviews relating to resources, professional action, and professional knowledge and skills, followed by a template design for an audit of action plans arising from serious case reviews.
Four recommendations are offered by this study. First, serious case reviews should have clear objectives, with an emphasis on learning opportunities rather than on investigating compliance with procedures in the course of case management. Second, within areas that use local safeguarding child boards (LSCBs), there should be action to pool the findings of all future serious case review recommendations. They should be categorized under the following three divisions: resource recommendations, professional action recommendations, and professional knowledge and skill recommendations. The recommendation should contain clear implications for health agencies and a record of agreed upon time scales for performance planning. Third, all of the recommendations from serious case reviews should comply with the SMART model, i.e., they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Fourth, as part of performance management by primary care trusts, the LSCB, and the SHA, there should be audits of particular areas of concern, which should include training, recordkeeping, and supervision. Regular audit cycles should be established with time scales for completion and annual reporting. This study analyzed 24 serious case reviews completed in the last 10 years by 4 LSCBs. A table of 182 health-related recommendations was developed, and the recommendations were categorized. Each recommendation was then analyzed to determine whether it complied with the SMART model. 1 table and 18 references