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Serious Case Review 1st February 2017

A Serious Case Review published today (Wednesday 1 February) by the West Berkshire Local Safeguarding Children Board has recommended improvements to local organisations’safeguarding practices.

In March 2016 a Serious Case Review was commissioned to look into how organisations handled allegations of sexual offences against children, which were committed by people in positions of trust. It followed the sentencing of two men earlier that year for separately committing sexual offences against children. Robert Neill[1] was sentenced to 21 years for offences between 1986 and 2003 and Peter Jarvis[2] was sentenced to 15 months for offences between 2008 and 2012.

The Serious Case Review, which was commissioned by the Local Safeguarding Children Board, found that:

  • There were missed opportunities to prevent the abuse of children.
  • Agencies and individuals with statutory responsibilities could have followed up issues of concern more quickly.
  • There is a need for clear and transparent governance arrangements of safeguarding, particularly in Academies.

A number of recommendations are made to address these issues and they include:

  • That all organisations increase a programme of awareness and training on safer recruitment processes, with particular focus on ensuring there are safe organisational cultures.
  • The LSCB checks to ensure that all organisations have whistleblowing procedures in place and that these are reviewed to determine how effective they are.
  • Consideration is given to how to raise awareness amongst all practitioners of the need for vigilance in spotting potential signs of harm and how to report it.

Implementation of the recommendations in the report has already begun including an immediate review on all agencies’ safer working practices, the introduction of more training and an updated auditing tool to help schools check their safeguarding practice against national standards.

Fran Gosling-Thomas, Independent Chair of the West Berkshire Local Safeguarding Children Board said: “In West Berkshire it’s not often that we need a Serious Case Review but on this occasion it was absolutely right that we look at how we might learn from this. We fully accept the conclusions of the report and will continue our work implementing the recommendations as quickly as we can.

“Many of the recommendations included in the report were identified at an early stage and activity has been taking place since then to quickly implement changes. All the organisations involved share a commitment to improve working practices and we will continue to work together to ensure that the safety of our young people remain at the heart of everything we do.

“The West Berkshire Safeguarding Children Board will robustly monitor the actions taken by the individual agencies in responding to these recommendations.”

If you have any concerns about the welfare or protection of a child please contact the CAAS team on 01635 503190.

Click here to download the full report.