May 15

National Safeguarding Practice Review Panel – 2020 Annual Report

This second annual report from the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel provides analysis and reflection on English safeguarding practice during what has been an indescribably hard time for children and families. It has also been a period of unprecedented test and challenge for all those entrusted with safeguarding and protecting children from harm.

The Panel seeks to provide a window on contemporary safeguarding practice, offering insight into how well national and local systems and organisations help and protect children. Over the next 12 months, the Panel will be looking to strengthen its reach and relationships with all its stakeholders, including safeguarding partnerships and across government.

Annie Hudson – Chair of Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel said:

“This report has three important messages.

Firstly, the Panel’s analysis of practice brings into sharp relief once again the importance of using our very best resources and skills to give a real and strong voice (and influence) to children.  ‘Reading between the lines’ of what children and families say and communicate (as well as what they do not say) involves time, imagination and the most proficient of relational skills. 

Our second core message concerns the urgency of addressing what might be described as stubborn and perennial problems in multi-agency child protection practice. Issues such as weak information sharing, communication and risk assessment have, over decades, impeded our ability to protect  children and to help families. We need to question and challenge ourselves when we talk about issues such as poor ‘risk assessment’, ‘disguised compliance’ and weak ‘professional curiosity’, thinking carefully what we mean and why these issues are coming about. The Panel is prioritising addressing some of these perennial problems in its 2021 to 2022 work programme. 

Our final message is about the need to understand and evaluate robustly the impact of learning from rapid reviews as well as local and national practice reviews. There is increasing evidence that the safeguarding ‘system’ is developing its capacity to reflect and learn. Although the Panel still sees examples of old ways of thinking, we have discerned real and evidenced shifts in the way that reviews are moving from an emphasis on ‘reporting about’ to ‘inquiring into and learning from’. 

I hope that this annual report is valuable to safeguarding leaders and practitioners in reflecting on the
quality and impact of practice.”

The report also notes 6 key practice themes:

Read the full report here

NHS South London
Met Police
NHS Croydon Health Services
NHS Croydon Clinical
Safer London