Pan Mersey Practice Learning Reviews

New digital learning packages aim to help prevent harm

This week, we’re shining a spotlight on five key themes which could help professionals work better together to prevent tragic outcomes for children.

When a child has been seriously harmed or died, and abuse or neglect are known or suspected to be a factor and there are concerns about the way agencies worked together, then the Safeguarding Children Partnerships (LSCP) undertake a Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (CSPR’s) in line with Working Together.

The purpose of CSPR’s is to learn from what happened so that future tragedies can be prevented.

Sadly, both nationally and locally there are re-occurring themes from such reviews.

This year, the Pan Merseyside Workforce Development Group have scrutinised previous reviews and identified several key themes.

From this learning, they have produced five digital learning packages to help professionals working with children to understand the main themes and be able to implement change in practice upon considering the content of these learning resources.

This week, all professionals working with children in Merseyside are being urged to take a look at the Pan Merseyside Practice Learning Reviews as a valuable resource to help them in their work.

You can work through the five digital learning packages at your own pace. Some come with supporting videos and other documents to help you. The idea is to concentrate on a different theme each day.

Theme 1: Voice & Lived Experience of the Child

Pan Mersey Practice Learning Reviews: Theme 1

 Voice & Lived Experience of the Child 

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The actions of ‘seeing and hearing’ a child is a professional skill that is frequently taken for granted, assumed, but with little focus of its importance and impact. To ‘see’ is not just to ‘look’ but to ‘turn one’s full attention to’; to observe and gain understanding of the a child’s presentation and any non-verbal cues.

To ‘hear’ is not just to take in sound/words but to ‘actively listen’ and ‘increase awareness of a situation in order to respond appropriately’. Seeing, hearing and then responding to the voice & lived experience of a vulnerable child should be at the forefront of professional practice.

The How do you know when you have properly seen, heard and responded to a vulnerable child?

How have you responded to what you know the child experiences and feels and how have this been evidenced?

The following resources help to support practitioners in ensuring the lived experience of the child is at the centre of their practice.

Pan Mersey Practice Learning Reviews: Theme 2

Professional Curiosity & Challenge 

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Curious professionals will spend time engaging with families on visits. They will know that talk, play and touch can all be important to observe and consider. Do not presume you know what is happening in the family home – ask questions and seek clarity if you are not certain. Do not be afraid to ask questions of families, and do so in an open way so they know that you are asking to keep their child safe, not to judge or criticise. Be open to the unexpected, and incorporate information that does not support your initial assumptions into your assessment of what life is like for the child or adult in the family.

The following videos explore Professional Curiosity and Challenge in more detail.

Professional Curiosity: The What? Why? and How?


Pan Mersey Practice Learning Reviews: Theme 3:

Contextual Safeguarding 

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Contextual Safeguarding is an approach to understanding and responding to young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse. Parents and carers have little influence over these contexts and young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships. Visit

Both national and regional reviews state that Contextual Safeguarding is an area that is becoming more identified as an important approach required when safeguarding children

What is contextual safeguarding?

What does contextual safeguarding mean to me?

Pan Mersey Practice Learning Reviews: Theme 4:

Recording and Decision Making

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Recording is an integral and important part of safeguarding and social care. It is not simply an administrative burden to go through as quickly as possible, but is central to good, person-centred support.

 Pan Mersey Practice Learning Reviews: Theme 5:


Information Sharing 

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In over 60% of Practice Learning Reviews there is evidence that poor sharing, recording and analysing of information has led to missed opportunities to protect children from being seriously harmed or dying. Like constructing a jigsaw, gathering information from a number of sources allows us to have a better picture of what the child/ren may be experiencing, and allows us to be better placed to make decisions about intervention and support.