Headlines: October 29th, 2010

A new report says the overall quality of Serious Case Reviews shows a strong trend of improvement. The report from Ofsted said more than 40 per cent of the reviews it had looked into were judged good and only 16 per cent were rated as inadequate.

Ofsted said, however, that many of the cases reviewed had revealed the persistence of key issues in practice that had contributed to shortcomings in the protection of the children involved. Reacting to the report, the Local Government Association paid tribute to dedicated social workers who, it said, were protecting tens of thousands of children.

The report found that of the 194 children involved in incidents of serious cases, 119 were known to children’s social care services at the time. Ninety were receiving services as children in need, of whom 49 were the subject of child protection plans. Thirty one of the children who had died were receiving children in need services. Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, said: “The case studies highlight the complexities of the situations which social workers and others are responding to. In undertaking these reviews, agencies have been able to reflect on what happened and learn from their experience. They have identified gaps in their approach and most important, have agreed actions to improve the protection of children and so reduce the chances of such serious incidents from happening again.”

Baroness Shireen Ritchie, chairman of the Local Government Group’s children and young people board, said the death of even one child was one too many and added: “Dedicated social workers, who are part of the solution not the problem, have protected tens of thousands of vulnerable children at a time when their workload has been growing.