Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews

16C (1) of the Children Act 2004 (as amended by the Children and Social Work Act 2017) states: Where a local authority in England knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected, the local authority must notify the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel if – (a) the child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority’s area, or (b) while normally resident in the local authority’s area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England. For looked-after children, you must notify the Panel of their death whether or not you know or suspect abuse or neglect.

Local authorities must notify the National Panel using the child safeguarding incident notification system.

This must be done within 5 days of becoming aware of the incident.

The duty to notify events to the Panel rests with the local authority. Others who have functions relating to children should inform the safeguarding partners of any incident which they think should be considered for a child safeguarding practice review.

A rapid review into all serious child safeguarding cases has to be completed within 15 working days of safeguarding partners becoming aware of the incident. As soon as the rapid review is complete, the safeguarding partners should send a copy to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. (The Panel may share this with DfE if requested, to enable DfE to carry out its functions).

Meeting the criteria does not mean that safeguarding partners must automatically carry out a local child safeguarding practice review. It is for them to determine whether a review is appropriate, taking into account that the overall purpose of a review is to identify improvements to practice. Issues might appear to be the same in some child safeguarding cases but reasons for actions and behaviours may be different and so there may be different learning to be gained from similar cases. Decisions on whether to undertake reviews should be made transparently and the rationale communicated appropriately, including to families.

Safeguarding partners must consider the criteria and guidance below when determining whether to carry out a local child safeguarding practice review.

The criteria which the local safeguarding partners must take into account include whether the case:

      • highlights or may highlight improvements needed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including where those improvements have been previously identified
      • highlights or may highlight recurrent themes in the safeguarding and promotion of the welfare of children
      • highlights or may highlight concerns regarding two or more organisations or agencies working together effectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
      • is one which the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel have considered and concluded a local review may be more appropriate.

Safeguarding partners should also have regard to the following circumstances:

      • where the safeguarding partners have cause for concern about the actions of a single agency
      • where there has been no agency involvement and this gives the safeguarding partners cause for concern
      • where more than one local authority, police area or clinical commissioning group is involved, including in cases where families have moved around
      • where the case may raise issues relating to safeguarding or promoting the welfare of children in institutional settings

The safeguarding partners should promptly undertake a rapid review of the case, in line with any guidance published by the Panel. The aim of this rapid review is to enable safeguarding partners to:

    • gather the facts about the case, as far as they can be readily established at the time
    • discuss whether there is any immediate action needed to ensure children’s safety and share any learning appropriately
    • consider the potential for identifying improvements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
    • decide what steps they should take next, including whether or not to undertake a child safeguarding practice review

To make a referral, please use this referral form and return it to

Cases that do not meet the criteria for a Child Safeguarding Practice Review may be referred to our Children's Learning and Improvement Committee. To make a referral please use this form and return it to

Our 7-minute briefing on rapid reviews is also available.