The objective of the SBNI is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people in Northern Ireland by coordinating the work and ensuring the effectiveness of each person or body represented on the Board.
The functions of the SBNI include:
- To promote awareness, across our community, of the need to safeguard children and promote their welfare;
- To develop good communication between the Board and children and young people;
- To undertake case management reviews, in order to learn lessons in cases where children have died or have been seriously injured;
- To review information in relation to the sudden and unexpected deaths of children;
- To develop policies and procedures to help professionals and agencies work together more effectively;
- To arrange consultation and discussion, where appropriate, in relation to safeguarding matters;
- To produce an annual report setting out the work of the SBNI, a copy of which is laid before the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Case Management Reviews
Regulation 17 of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) 2011 Regulations requires the SBNI to undertake Case Management Reviews (CMR), in accordance with the CMR guidance laid out in Annex B of the Guidance to the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI).
The purpose of a Case Management Review carried out under this guidance is not to find fault with individual practice but rather to examine the organisational systems and processes that assist or allow individuals to make decisions or to act in certain ways to keep children safe.
The principles which underpin the CMR process include:-
- A focus on learning:
a) By identifying what has worked well and then build upon it;
b) Understanding what has not worked well and why, and how this should be prevented in the future;
c) Disseminating that learning for the purpose of improving practice and ultimately future safeguarding outcomes for children and young people
- Openess and transparency;
- Creating a mechanism and encouraging organisations to be reflective.
The focus of a CMR in particular is on:
• Establishing the facts of the case;
• Identifying what has worked well so that Member Agencies of the SBNI can build upon it;
• Asserting if there are lessons to be learned from the case about the way in which professionals and statutory and/or voluntary agencies work together to safeguard children;
• Identifying clearly what those lessons are, how they will be acted upon and what is expected to change as a consequence;
• Providing a report highlighting the lessons learned and identifying any recommendations for future action to prevent these occurring in the future; and
• Disseminating that learning for the purpose of improving practice and ultimately future safeguarding outcomes for children and young people.
A Case Management Review must always be undertaken by the SBNI where a child has died or has been significantly harmed and when any of the following apply:
- Abuse or neglect of the child is known or suspected;
- The child or a sibling of the child is or has been on the child protection register and is subject to a plan to safeguard that child from further harm and promote his health and development; or
- The child or a sibling of the child is or has been looked after by an authority within the meaning of Article 25 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order.
The SBNI has concerns about the effectiveness in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children of any of the persons or bodies represented on the Safeguarding board by virtue of section 1(2)(b) and (4) of the Act.
- The SBNI will also consider taking forward a Case Management Review in cases that demonstrate effective working (individually or in partnership) of persons or agencies who are Members of the SBNI and where there is outstanding positive learning to be gained from the case which would lead to improved practice in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in Northern Ireland 1995.
The SBNI has the responsibility of appointing Independent Chairs to undertake a Case Management Review (CMR) on behalf of the SBNI. The Chair of the CMR must be independent of the case under review and of the organisations whose actions are being reviewed. The Chair once appointed is accountable to the SBNI, through the CMR Panel for the thoroughness and quality of the final Report.
The SBNI also has responsibility for establishing a Review Team representing the key professional disciplines and key agencies involved in the case. The role of the Review Team is to collate and analyse all inputs to the case to enable the Chair and Team to bring forward a report highlighting the lessons emerging and identify any recommendations for future action.