Learning Reviews

Child protection in England is a complex multi-agency system with many different organisations and individuals playing their part.

Reflecting on how well that system is working is critical as we constantly seek to improve our collective public service response to children and their families. 

Sometimes a child suffers a serious injury or death as a result of child abuse or neglect. Understanding not only what happened but also why things happened as they did can help to improve our response in the future.

Serious Incident

A Serious Incident is one where:

  • abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected  
  • and
  • the child has died or been seriously harmed

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. 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 IOWSCP must automatically carry out a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review. Locally it is for the Learning and Inquiry Group, on behalf of IOWSCP, to determine whether a review is appropriate, taking into account that the overall purpose of a review is to identify improvements to practice.

The purpose of a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review (LCSPR)

The purpose is for agencies and individuals to identify improvements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children at both local and national levels and learn lessons that improve the way in which they work, both individually and collectively, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Reviews should seek to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrence of similar incidents. They are not conducted to hold individuals, organisations, or agencies to account, as there are other processes for that purpose, including employment law and disciplinary procedures, professional regulation and, in exceptional cases, criminal proceedings.   


The criteria safeguarding partners must take into account include whether the case:

  • highlights or may highlight improvements needed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including where those improvements have been previously identified
  • highlights or may highlight recurrent themes in the safeguarding and promotion of the welfare of children
  • highlights or may highlight concerns regarding two or more organisations or agencies working together effectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
  • is one the panel has considered and has concluded a local review may be more appropriate

Safeguarding partners should also have regard to circumstances where:

  • they have cause for concern about the actions of a single agency
  • there has been no agency involvement, and this gives them cause for concern
  • more than one local authority, police area or ICB is involved, including in cases where a family has moved around
  • the case may raise issues related to safeguarding or promoting the welfare of children in institutional settings

The Learning Inquiry Group (LIG)

The LIG oversees Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews. Membership consists of senior representatives within partnership agencies. These include:

  • Children’s Social Care Services
  • Police
  • Health commissioners and providers
  • Education
  • Probation
  • Youth Offending

Referrals to the Learning Inquiry Group (LIG)

  • Any partner / relevant agency can refer a case to the LIG
  • All professionals referring cases should initially discuss the case with their agency representative at the LIG for approval
  • Referral forms should be submitted to the Partnership Team at SCP@iow.gov.uk

The Case Referral Form can be  found here (.DOC) and the referral flowchart can be  found here (.DOCX) .

Local Case Reviews

Further information

Further information and guidance in relation to LCSPRs can be found in the statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Learning from Reviews Toolkit

This joint toolkit with the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership is designed to support agencies understanding and practical application of learning from recurring themes arising from local and national reviews.
The materials are free to access and available to all practitioners working with unborn babies, children and their families, including adults with care and support needs. 

Learning from Reviews toolkit 
Neglected child