8.5 Multi-Agency Reflective Review Policy


This chapter identifies the role of the Reflective Review and where it sits within a range of processes where there is concern about an outcome for a child. Reflective Reviews can be conducted speedily and cost effectively, harnessing the high level of willingness of professionals to learn. Cases will be identified where there is significant learning to be gained across the multi-agency network but the process sits under the Serious Case Review and Critical Incidents.

This chapter was added to the manual in July 2018.

1. When should Knowsley SCP Undertake Multi-Agency Reflective Reviews?


In order to strengthen the safeguarding arrangements for children and to further develop the ethos of a learning culture, Working Together to Safeguard Children and Eileen Munro's review of child protection: a child centred system in respect of children's safeguarding reinforces this approach. Munro identifies that the agencies which manage risk effectively are those which have early warning systems to detect problems, and put in place regulatory actions quickly to repair weakness in the system.

Aim and Purpose of Multi-Agency Reflective Reviews

There are cases which come to light where Serious Case Reviews or Child Safeguarding Practice Review must be conducted, and there are also critical incidents or near miss cases which warrant a wider and formal process to include the use of individual Management Reports identified through the SCR process. The decision to hold such reviews is made by the Serious Incident Review Group (SIRG). (See Serious Incident Review Group Procedures).

It is intended that the Multi-Agency Reflective Reviews will operate within this context, and sit under these processes. Multi-Agency Reflective Reviews can be conducted speedily and cost effectively, harnessing the high level of willingness of professionals to learn. Cases will be identified where there is significant learning to be gained across the multi-agency network. Weaknesses or faults in the system can be identified quickly through individual cases, and action plans drawn up quickly.

Reflective reviews can be conducted at any point and do not have to be delayed pending the outcome of any continuing activity/investigation.

The decision to conduct a reflective review must be proportionate to the case and the potential for lessons to be learnt and improvements to be made. Cases that can provide insights into the way that agencies work together can be considered for Multi-Agency Reflective Reviews across broad continuum, from those that fall below the threshold for undertaking a Serious Case Review or Child Safeguarding Practice Review to those deemed to demonstrate capacity for practitioners across agencies to improve how they work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Cases will be considered in relation to a specific incident or a culmination of circumstances in order to drive improvements and preserve and enhance good practice.

The purpose of the review is to:

  • Establish what lessons are to be learnt from the case about the way in which local professionals and organisations work individually and together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children that will impact on practice beyond the circumstances of the case. This includes evidence of good practice;
  • Identify clearly what those lessons are, both within and between agencies, and how and within what timescales they will be acted on, who will lead and what is expected to change as a result, and how we will know.

There is an assumption that the Board would seek to publish the findings of any reflective review.

It is anticipated that these reviews will not depend on the completion of complex chronologies and agency reports, but that the most appropriate representative from each agency involved will come to the review meeting fully appraised of their agency involvement, having read the case file and possibly spoken to staff involved. Consequently the reviews will have a less bureaucratic process around them and there will be minimal delay before the necessary corrective action is put in place. They will be a vehicle for interagency review and discussion.

The provision of multi-agency reflective reviews will enhance transparency and openness, but also provide opportunities for appropriate challenge and peer scrutiny. In addition, it is hoped that these reviews will highlight good practice and stimulate a positive learning culture.

It is essential that any lessons learned are disseminated quickly. There will be a clear line of accountability for the monitoring of any actions that are agreed out of the review.

2. Criteria for Multi-Agency Reflective Review

Practitioners and managers should keep an open mind in relation to cases where significant learning could be achieved on a multi-agency basis. This process is in addition to any single agency audits or reviews that may take place on individual cases.

The following criterion is essential:

  • Cases that do not meet the threshold for Serious Case Review or Child Safeguarding Practice Review or where they are referred for a Multi-Agency Reflective Review by SIRG panel;
  • Cases where the Safeguarding Lead for the agency/organisation considers that a multi-agency reflective review would promote learning across the multi-agency network. This would include examples of good practice as well as areas for development.

3. Process

Where the safeguarding lead for any agency believes there is something significant to be learned or reinforced across the multi-agency network, contact must be made with the KSCP Business Unit, who will determine in collaboration with the referrer if a Multi-Agency Reflective Review is appropriate. Ensure that you complete the forms at Appendix 1: Safeguarding Children Multi-Agency Reflective Review Referral to Case Panel and Appendix 3: Multi-Agency Reflective Review: Professionals and Agencies Involved including the Referral Form with sufficient details that the case can be discussed. All agencies involved in the case will be notified to and asked to prepare for the review and to take part in a round table discussion. The Head of Service, Children's Social Care will nominate a chair for the review and arrange a date for the Multi-Agency Review Team to meet. Service users will be informed that a reflective review is taking place and that the views of the user will be brought to the meeting and who will be responsible for this.

The appropriate representative for each agency should review the file and meet with staff as appropriate and complete Appendix 1: Safeguarding Children Multi-Agency Reflective Review Referral to Case Panel. The review should be conducted in full collaboration with the practice staff involved, with a view to reflective learning.

The review team will meet for one meeting. Agency safeguarding leads will draw on their preparatory work to contribute to discussions about shortcomings and areas for improvement in their agency, as well as being able to identify good practice and strengths. They will establish what learning points have been drawn from the discussion and will produce recommendations. The Chair will send this summary to the Knowsley Safeguarding Children Board Business Unit and the review findings and recommendations will be presented to the Quality Assurance and Review Group (QARG) and action plans will be progressed through this group. Knowsley Safeguarding Children's Board will be notified of the review and the outcomes.

4. Dissemination of Lessons and Feedback to Staff and Family

It is envisaged that single agency learning will also be disseminated down through agencies using their own training pathways. Similarly, agency leads will discuss with members of their staff who may have been directly involved in the case.

The Chair of the review will feedback to the family, with the lead professional known to them if this is more appropriate.