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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-10860: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 23 August 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on commissioning boards independent of local authorities to carry out an external analysis of the significant case reviews of social work services.

Answered by: Mark McDonald 8 September 2017

A significant case review is a multi-agency process for establishing the facts of, and learning lessons from, a situation where an individual has died or been significantly harmed. It is not restricted to the delivery of social work services but rather considers the responsibility of all relevant agencies, including health, police and education services in keeping vulnerable individuals safe.

It is the Child Protection and Adult Protection Committees, on behalf of the Chief Officers' Group or equivalent, who determine whether a significant case review should be undertaken when either a child or an adult at risk of harm dies or has found to be exposed to, or suffered, significant harm.

Since 2015, the Care Inspectorate has collated and reviewed significant case reviews for children and young people to facilitate best practice and multi-agency change across Scotland to prevent future harm. The Care Inspectorate published a report on learning from significant case reviews in 2016 (

The 2016 Child Protection Systems Review ( also considered significant case reviews. The findings of both these reports show that practice and learning around significant case reviews could be improved and the recommendations from the 2016 Child Protection Systems Review on significant case reviews (, are being taken forward through the Child Protection Improvement Programme ( Specifically, action is being taken around improving the consistency and quality of significant case reviews and greater sharing of learning.

The Scottish Government is developing national guidance for Adult Protection Committees on conducting significant case reviews. This will include a means of disseminating national learning from significant case reviews to support improvements in inter-agency practice and prevent harm to adults at risk. We are considering the option of this role being undertaken by an independent body.