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Learning and Improvement Framework

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter covers the requirements within Chapter 4 of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, which describes the way that professionals and organisations protecting children need to reflect on the quality of their services and learn from their own practice and that of others. It explains the requirements for an integrated local learning and improvement framework.


Contents

1. Principles
  1.1 Learning and Improvement Framework
  1.2 Purpose of Local Learning and Improvement Framework
  1.3 Principles for Learning and Improvement
  1.4 The Hull Safeguarding Children Board Learning and Improvement Framework
  Amendments to this Chapter


1. Principles

1.1 Learning and Improvement Framework

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 requires Local Safeguarding Children Boards to maintain a shared local learning and improvement framework across those local organisations working with children and families. It also sets out an expectation that Local authorities and Board partners will provide the LSCB with data to enable it to fulfil its statutory functions (which include assessing the effectiveness of local services to safeguard children. Furthermore, Local Authorities are required to report any Notifiable Incident to Ofsted and the Hull Safeguarding Children Board promptly, and within five working days of becoming aware that the incident has occurred. [53]

The local framework should cover the full range of reviews and audits (learning activity) which will be used to drive improvements in work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This includes those reviews (Serious Case Reviews and Child Death Reviews) which are required under legislation.

1.2 Purpose of Local Learning and Improvement Framework

The purpose of this framework is to enable local organisations be clear about their responsibilities to learn from experience and improve services as a result. The framework should be shared across all agencies that work with children and families.

The local framework should support the work of LSCBs and their partners so that:

  • Reviews are conducted regularly;
  • Reviews encompass both those cases which meet statutory criteria (i.e. Serious Case Reviews and Child Death Reviews) and cases which may provide useful insights into the way organisations are working together to safeguard and protect the welfare of children;
  • Reviews look at what happened in the case, why it did so and what action will be taken to learn from the findings;
  • Learning is derived from both good and more problematic practice about the organisational strengths and weaknesses within local services to safeguard children;
  • Action results in lasting improvements to services which safeguard and promote the welfare of children and help protect them from harm; and
  • There is transparency about the issues arising and the resulting actions organisations take in response to the findings from individual cases, including sharing the final reports of Serious Case Reviews with the public.

Reviews are not an end in themselves, but are a method to identify where any improvements are needed and to consolidate good practice. The LSCB and partner agencies will translate the findings from reviews into programmes of action which lead to sustainable improvements.

1.3 Principles for Learning and Improvement

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 describes the following principles which should be applied to all reviews:

  • Learning and improvement: A continuous culture across all organisations, identifying opportunities to draw on what works and promote good practice;
  • A proportionate approach: According to the scale and level of complexity of the issues being examined;
  • Independence: Reviews of serious cases to be led by individuals who are independent of the case under review and of the organisations whose actions are being reviewed;
  • Involvement of practitioners and clinicians: Professionals should be fully involved in reviews and invited to contribute their perspectives without fear of being blamed for actions they took in good faith;
  • Involvement of children and families: Families, including surviving children, should be invited to contribute to reviews and be provided with an understanding of how this will occur This is important for ensuring that the child is at the centre of any review or learning process;
  • Transparency: Achieved by publication of the final reports of Serious Case Reviews and the LSCB’s response to the findings. The LSCB annual report should explain the impact of Serious Case Reviews and other reviews on improving services to children and families and on reducing the incidence of deaths or serious harm to children. This will also inform inspections;
  • Sustained improvement: Improvement must be sustained through regular monitoring and follow-up so that the findings from these reviews make a real impact on improving outcomes for children.

LSCB’s should pay attention to the dissemination processes for learning, giving consideration to:

  • The need to reach a multi-agency audience;
  • An understanding of adult learning; and
  • The on-going training and development needs of certain professional groups.

This is of central importance to ensure that what is learnt influences practice and leads to improved outcomes for children. A single approach will not be suitable for all learning and every agency.

A range of learning opportunities should be provided that could include: Inter-professional discussion forums, specific dissemination events, thematic presentations (combining the learning from several different reviews) and the dissemination of LSCB ‘bulletins’ which pull together National and local learning.

1.4 The Hull Safeguarding Children Board Learning and Improvement Framework

The Hull Safeguarding Children Board ‘Learning and Improvement’ Framework has been developed based on the local experience of different approaches to learning. The framework incorporates the key principles for learning described above. It also describes our agreed local learning ‘culture’, a range of learning activity and how learning will inform practice. The framework can be accessed here.

The agreed local learning ‘culture’ which underpins our approach and framework is as follows:

  • We understand that we have a shared accountability for providing good quality local services which help and support children and families;
  • We will create the conditions, at all levels, which foster a culture of respectful challenge and support;
  • We will promote reflective practice and reflective supervision in all settings, including schools;
  • We will structure our learning activity in a way which promotes and facilitates dynamic conversations (with each other, with frontline practitioners and their managers, and with children and their families);
  • We will have a constant focus on trying to understand what life is like for the child (or group of children) and what needs to change to make life better for the child (or group of children) – by asking children themselves, their families and the professionals who know them best;
  • We will structure our learning activity in a way which seeks to understand the experience of frontline staff from their own perspective – we are committed to a culture of reflective learning;
  • We will continue to develop more systemic ways of approaching Serious Case Reviews and other ‘learning from practice’ activity;
  • We will seek to add a multi-agency dimension to ongoing single agency learning activity wherever possible;
  • We are committed to continuous learning and to developing effective ways of distilling and cascading the learning so that it has a positive impact on practice and improves outcomes for children; and
  • We will consciously and deliberately identify cases which demonstrate good inter-agency practice and review these on a multi-agency basis to develop our local understanding of ‘what good looks like’.


Amendments to this Chapter

This chapter was updated in June 2015 following the publication of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015). A note was added in Section 1.1, Learning and Improvement Framework to reflect that Local authorities and Board partners should provide the LSCB with data to enable it to fulfil its statutory functions effectively.

End.