Ethos of ‘blame’ in serious case reviews acts as a barrier to learning, report finds
Government report calls for a re-think on how serious case reviews are conducted, and more training to embed learning and practice
Inaccessible language, an ethos of ‘blame’ and a lack of local attention are all hampering social work learning from serious case reviews, a government report has found.
The report, commissioned by the Department for Education and carried out by Kingston University, examined the roadblocks that social workers face when trying to learn from serious case reviews (SCRs).
It recommended that SCR models should “reset the process to promote learning rather than blame” and have more focus on reflection and analysis, rather than primarily description and judgments based on hindsight.
Researchers found policy and procedure development and implementation is “not proportionate or sensitive to the scale, locality and context of the case” when analysing SCRs, while this is exacerbated by the selectivity of media coverage.
Similarly, it found rapid policy change in the wake of SCRs impacts significantly on frontline staff and creates confusion.
“Recently serious case reviews seem to have become more of a process of allocating accountability and blame,” said Professor Ray Jones, who worked on the report.
“What the government needs to do is make the process more practical and less onerous.”