The Department for Education has published its response to the consultation into safeguarding children regulations, making changes to how serious case reviews are completed. The Government is updating the guidance to local councils and other organisations like schools, the police and health bodies on how children should be safeguarded.
The new regulations introduce the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, a national body to oversee serious child safeguarding cases that raise issues of national importance.
This comes after Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths submitted evidence to the consultation to raise concerns about the way the serious case review into the death of Ayeeshia Jayne Smith in Burton was conducted.
In his consultation submission, Andrew called for schools inspector Ofsted and the Department for Education to be given a greater oversight role in ensuring that recommendations from serious case reviews are properly implemented by local authorities. The Government’s consultation response agrees that Ofsted should have a role in looking at how recommendations from reports by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel are being implemented locally.
Amongst other things, the Government’s response to the consultation “propose[s] to add further clarification to the effect that reviewers should be impartial”.
In Andrew’s response to the consultation, he also raised concerns over the independence of those people who had been selected to conduct the review into Derbyshire Social Services’ handling of Ayeeshia’s case.
Andrew said: “I welcome the Government’s plans to give Ofsted a role in overseeing how reports from the Safeguarding Panel are implemented locally, and to ensure those reviewing serious child safeguarding cases are impartial and independent.
“I am pleased they listened to my contribution on these issues in the consultation. Scrutiny of whether local councils and social services departments is important to make sure recommendations are implemented in full and it is good news that Ofsted will play a part in ensuring this is the case.
“It is also vital that when a thorough review of such a serious case as Ayeeshia’s is completed that those reviewing the work of the organisations involved are completely independent to ensure they can carry out their role without fear or favour, and I had major concerns about those selected to conduct the review into little Ayeeshia’s death.”
Andrew added: “When something so dreadful happens as Ayeeshia being killed by her own mother it is vital that social services and all of the other organisations involved with the family learn the lessons so that something like this can never happen again. I hope that the introduction of the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel will make the serious case review system more robust, and I am pleased that the Department for Education has taken on board some of my recommendations in the light of Ayeeshia’s case.”