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Interagency Safeguarding Children ProceduresNottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NSCP)
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Partnership (NCSCP)

Learning and Improvement Model


This chapter covers the requirements within chapter 3 of Working Together to Safeguard Children which states the purpose of the local safeguarding arrangements is to support and enable local organisations and agencies to work together in a system where:

  • Learning is promoted and embedded in a way that local services for children and families can become more reflective and implement changes to practice.

Furthermore, in relation to Children Safeguarding Practice Reviews there is a requirement to dis-seminate and embed this learning across the Partnerships.


This chapter was revised and updated in January 2019.


  1. Purpose
  2. Learning and Improvement Model
  3. Use of Data and Intelligence to Monitor Performance
  4. Audit
  5. Single Agency Audits
  6. Learning from Case Reviews
  7. National and Regional Learning
  8. Practice Improvement
  9. Impact Evaluation

1. Purpose

The NCSCP/NSCP operates a learning and improvement model which ensures that partner organisations are clear about their responsibilities and are supported to learn from experience and improve services.

2. Learning and Improvement Model

The model includes:

  • Use of data and intelligence to monitor performance;
  • Multi-agency and single agency case audits;
  • Case reviews;
  • Practice improvement;
  • Impact evaluation.

Improving practice relies on seeking learning from as many sources as possible and triangulating information in order to underpin the Partnership's identification of priorities for their Business Plans. This will include:

  • Gathering information from children and families;
  • Feedback from frontline staff;
  • Reports on agencies' critical issues;
  • Learning from inspections and thematic reviews.

3. Use of Data and Intelligence to Monitor Performance

The Partnerships Performance Management Frameworks sets out the way performance information is provided to both Partnerships to inform their assessment of the effectiveness of the help being provided to children and families (including early help). Data relating to key safeguarding processes and particularly vulnerable groups of children will be provided each quarter with an analysis that provides an explanation of any trends and issues for attention of the group. This will be supplemented by specific reports on topics that have been identified by the 3 Safeguarding Partners as requiring assurance monitoring.

The framework will be subject to regular review by the Partnerships and therefore the issues covered may vary according to the needs of children in Nottinghamshire /Nottingham and risks identified.

4. Audit

Multi-Agency Audits

The NCSCP and NSCP will develop each year multi-agency audit programmes, with the aim of providing assurance to their respective Partnerships of the quality of safeguarding services in Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire. In addition, any areas of good practice will be identified and shared and areas for development will result in recommendations and action to improve practice.

The programme will reflect the priorities for safeguarding children in Nottinghamshire and will be informed by:

  • Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews;
  • Performance indicators;
  • The need to further explore issues that have caused of concern, including those highlighted through previous audits;
  • Feedback from learning and development, management forums or policy implementation; or
  • General audits within a category of case to establish a baseline assessment of performance.

The NCSCP and NSCP will ensure that the level and depth of multi-agency audit is sufficient to provide the necessary assurance of safeguarding practice and that safeguarding partners/relevant agencies are involved appropriately, including the involvement of front line staff. Wherever possible the views of children, young people and their families will be incorporated into audit work.

Reports of audit activity will be made to the NCSCP / NSCP (Safeguarding Assurance and Improvement Group) on a regular basis, and these will include any emerging issues that need to be addressed.

An analysis of these reports will be published in the Partnerships Annual Reports, and will inform the Business Plan priorities for the following year.

5. Single Agency Audits

In addition the NCSCP & NSCP have an expectation that each safeguarding partner/relevant agency will undertake their own internal audits of safeguarding activity.

Safeguarding partners/relevant agencies are to determine the focus of these audits based on their own self assessments of safeguarding practice (including Section 11 compliance) and learning from case reviews. These may cover the implementation of policy and procedures; line management arrangements, training and supervision; and the quality of specific safeguarding interventions. Analysis of the results of the audits should lead to recommendations for future practice development, and be reported to the appropriate safeguarding partnership.

6. Learning from Case Reviews

The aim of all types of learning review is to enable professionals and organisations protecting children to reflect on the quality of their services, and learn from their own practice and that of others. The processes ensure that good practice is shared and that when cases have poor outcomes, the lessons can be learnt and actions identified to ensure that services can be improved to reduce the risk of future harm to children.

The following review processes form part of the Learning and Improvement model:

Child Death Reviews

These are conducted by the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP). The multi-agency panel reviews each death of a child normally resident in the area – there is a joint panel for Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire.

The panel collects and collates information relating to each child death to determine the cause of death, the category of death, and to identify any modifiable factors which may have contributed to the death. If there are any such factors, the panel will make recommendations to the safeguarding partnerships so that action can be taken to prevent such deaths in the future where possible. The panel will analyse local data to identify any patterns or trends and alert the Partnerships accordingly. If there is a suspicion that neglect or abuse may have been a factor in the death, the panel will refer the case for consideration for a Child Safeguarding Practice Review.

The panel is also responsible for agreeing local procedures for responding to those deaths that meet the criteria for a joint agency response and ensuring appropriate support is in place for those affected.

All learning identified is shared widely both on a local and national scale and findings are reported to the Partnerships for dissemination to safeguarding partners/relevant agencies.

See Child Death Review Procedures.

Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews

The purpose of a national and local Child Safeguarding Practice Review is to advise safeguarding partners/relevant agencies on lessons to be learned from serious safeguarding cases with a focus on both good and poor practice.

See Child Safeguarding Practice Review Procedure.

Other multi-agency reviews

If a case does not meet the criteria for a Child Safeguarding Practice Review but it is felt that there is some learning that can be identified from it in order to improve practice, then an alternative multi-agency learning review can be held. The process will be agreed according to the needs of each individual case and described in the terms of reference. It will be facilitated by an independent manager who has had no involvement in the case.

Single agency reviews

Many agencies have procedures which involve conducting a single agency review when an incident has occurred. Whilst these reviews take many forms, it is expected that the agency will ensure that the Partnership is appropriately notified when they are undertaken, and of any learning identified which it would be helpful to share across safeguarding partners/relevant agencies (for example, a resulting change to their multi-agency working practice). The learning should be shared with all partnership members.

7. National and Regional Learning

Both Partnerships maintain a live link with the regional group of Safeguarding Children Arrangements which allows them to contribute to and benefit from shared learning, activity and research. This informs local developments and practice.

Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews will be published on the NSPCC website. Both Partnerships will actively review the NSPCC Serious Case Review (SCR)/ Child Safeguarding Practice reviews (CSPR) repository to identify local learning opportunities from reviews carried out by other Safeguarding Partnerships. Additionally, the Partnerships will promote the national Triennial Analysis of SCR/CSPR, and associated agency briefing tools, and take account of any learning identified.

8. Practice Improvement

To ensure that specific areas for improvement in practice, or learning from good practice identified from reviews, audits and other sources is effectively disseminated, the NCSCP and NSCP will:

  • Establish and monitor clear communication channels within Partnership structures and across all safeguarding partners/relevant agencies;
  • Require all Partnership groups and safeguarding partners/relevant agencies to identify and report on actions identified to promote improvements in practice;
  • Make clear what improvements in practice are required, and how this might be evidenced;
  • Identify priorities in the Partnerships Business Plans to reflect the key learning from the previous year;
  • Consider best way to disseminate the learning : via training events / seminars, newsletters, information on websites, through revision/update of Safeguarding Children Procedures, via Safeguarding leads/managers etc.
  • Put in place a number of methods for evaluating the effectiveness of the dissemination of learning such as feedback from newsletters, hits to web pages, event evaluations and surveys.

9. Impact Evaluation

To evaluate and review the effectiveness of the Learning and Improvement Model, it is important to gather some evidence of the impact of learning and its dissemination, on practice and outcomes for children and young people.

In the context of an impact evaluation model adopted by both Partnerships, the NCSCP / NSCP will develop a range of methods for collecting evidence of improvements in practice, including:

  • When actions to improve practice are identified, outcomes providing evidence are clearly spelt out and monitored;
  • The use of themed multi-agency audits;
  • Drawing information from other quality assurance processes (E.g. Section 11 audits);
  • Using post course or learning event evaluations;
  • Monitoring the impact of actions from Child Safeguarding Practice reviews;
  • Outcomes of inspections and peer review.

Each Partnership will use their Performance Management and Quality Assurance practices to contribute to the evaluation of the impact of identified improvements in practice.