Learning and improvement

Services for children, young people and their families are best able to meet the needs of those with whom they work, when they are committed to a programme of continuous improvement.

Services use a number of different ways to learn about themselves and to identify which aspects would benefit from improvement.

These include seeking feedback from those who use services, staff surveys, performance and management information, audits of practice and reviews of processes.

In addition to this type of self-evaluation activity, many services are also routinely inspected by scrutiny bodies, such as the Care Inspectorate.

This combination of internal and external evaluation provides a rich understanding of how well services are doing, what is working well and what needs to improve.

Across Scotland, there is an implementation gap between what we know works and what we hope to achieve.

Improvement methodologies, particularly Quality Improvement, (which contains the model for improvement), are being implemented across Scotland to raise attainment for all.

Since 2005, child protection services across Scotland have been subject to regular multi-agency strategic inspections.

Originally led by HMIe, and now led by the Care Inspectorate, these inspections focus on how well services are working together to protect children and improve their lives.

The Care Inspectorate publishes guides to evaluating services using quality indicators.

These guides are used both in self-evaluation activity and in multi-agency strategic inspections of children’s services.

The current guide is: A quality framework for children and young people in need of care and protection (July 2018)

Key resources

Evaluation Resource IconResearch Resource Icon

Learning from Significant Case Reviews in Scotland 2015-2018

Year: 2019 | Topic: Child protection | Author: Care Inspectorate
This report presents the findings of a review by the Care Inspectorate of 25 Serious Case Reviews (SCRs), conducted in Scotland over the thre…
Report Resource Icon

Review of findings from the inspection programme 2012-2017

Year: 2019 | Topic: Child protection, Residential care | Author: Care Inspectorate
The joint strategic inspection of services for children and young people.
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National Guidance for Child Protection Committees - Conducting a Significant Case Review

Year: 2015 | Topic: Child protection | Author: Scottish Government
Guidance for Child Protection Committees when conducting a Significant Case Review.
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Audit and Analysis of Significant Case Reviews

Year: 2012 | Topic: Child protection | Author: Sharon Vincent, Alison Petch
This report presents the findings from an audit and analysis of 56 Significant Case Reviews (SCRs) and 43 Initial Case Reviews (ICRs) conduct…

Learning from Significant Case Reviews

Child Protection Committees have responsibility for continuous improvement of child protection services in their local area. They oversee joint evaluation activity and implementation of improvement plans in their local areas.

Within this context, one of the key responsibilities of Child Protection Committees is undertaking Significant Case Reviews.

A Significant Case Review (SCR) is a multi-agency process for establishing the facts of a situation where a child has died or been significantly harmed, within a child protection context, in order to learn lessons on how to better protect children and young people in Scotland.

There are various ways of approaching the undertaking of Significant Case Reviews. More information about some of these approaches can be found below.

Following an SCR, and other types of child protection evaluation activity, Child Protection Committees are responsible for implementing the learning from such activities in order to improve services and, in turn, improve outcomes for children and young people.

See below for further information and useful website links.