A review of recent UK Serious Case Reviews relating to vulnerable adults

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8 August 2015

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Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) concerning vulnerable adults have been laid out to assess the manner in which experts and organizations operated jointly to protect a susceptible adult or have an effect after harm or demise of a susceptible adult in cases of interests to do with organization’s activities or operations. There lacks a national network in the UK for their collation and psychoanalysis (Manthorpe & Martineau, 2010). This review of recent SCRs in the United Kingdom employs three themes that encompass staff affiliations; family and professions; life history and chronology with the intention of extracting substance appropriate to social work strategy and performance. SCRs with respect to susceptible adults and questions carried out UK adult protection or defense boards at regional position after the occurrence of harm or demise had little or no scrutiny (Brown, 2009). This paper reflects on the role and influence of serious case reviews in safeguarding vulnerable adults. Suggestions on Serious Case Reviews are offered in line with the perspective of the recent review of the vulnerable adult protection in the UK that obtained demands for the operations of Serious Case Reviews to be more constant and for teachings obtained to be assessed and more broadly passed amid social employees, other experts, regulators, and stakeholders. During a period when the UK government declared policies for Serious Case Reviews for adults to shift to a legal foundation, this study focuses on their prospective as knowledge materials, but also on their role and impact.

Information collection

              The results applied in this study shape a section of a larger research that constituted an analysis of some Serious Case Reviews implemented in the United Kingdom from the time of the emergence of In Safe Hands and No Secrets. Moreover, interviews through cell phones with some experts knowledgeable in such reviews, and study of some Serious Case Review reports played a significant role in this study (Manthorpe & Martineau, 2010). Complete reports of Serious Case Reviews are not easily accessible online or publicly and thus, in the aforementioned reviews, Safeguarding Adults Coordinators (earlier referred to as Adult Protection Coordinators) were called forth to provide Serious Case Review reports that their Board members had earlier commissioned. The Serious Case Review reports differed in volume from 8 to 48 pages. In this study, the reports were reviewed in terms of:

† Contemplations on Serious Case Reviews;

† Methodology or progression;

† Outlay;

† Rationale;

† Reexamination/action plan;

† Review workforce;

† Teachings/recommendations;

† Threshold of Serious Case Review (if this was particularly reflected on), the rationale behind a Serious Case Review being felt as suitable (Aylett, 2009);

† Timescale;

† Type of Abuse (encompassing also disregard) using the groups delineated in No Secrets;

† Underlying principle for Serious Case Review; information concerning the victims, averred abusers and situations (Aylett, 2008).

Because this review focused on learning if the reports clearly handled a number of these aspects thus permitting for assessment of the intelligibility and rigidity of the practice, this review applied full reports. Moreover, there exists an appealing balance in a question involving the major narrative, defining the occurrence and its forerunners, and the bureaucratic nature of the proposals (Benbow, 2008).


              The ages of the vulnerable people that were affected or died were reported in age groups while tribe was not reported to sustain strict anonymity. Attributable to the lack of lawful or other fortitudes in a lot of reports, this study refers to averred victims and averred abusers. Some of the articles applied in this research entailed death and proof of disregard or abuse (in case that such abandonment or abuse was evidently contributory to death or not). Other articles entailed assertions of abandonment or mistreatment occurring at the averred victim’s residence attributable to relatives or people given the responsibility of providing care (Cambridge & Parkes, 2006). The rest entailed claims of sexual indignation, abandonment, or abuse with harm nearly causing death, general institutional abandonment, or maltreatment that was caused by pitiable attention and healthcare practices.


              The reports employed were generally clear concerning the rationale of the Serious Case Review that had been carried out, focusing on viewing this as a way to encourage multi-organization operation and lesson knowledge. This, from a report regarding the demise of a woman aged over 90 years after clearly obstreperous behavior of a relative in the countenance of suggestion that the woman ought to be admitted in a health care facility, is practically distinctive. The reason behind this review is to safeguard susceptible people by concentrating on teachings obtained from the cases and giving suggestions with an intention of curbing similar calamity through intensifying and bettering multi-organization processes and deals. The people carrying out Serious Case Reviews excellently comprehend this form of conceptualization of rationale concerning the notion behind them (Cambridge, Beadle-Brown, Milne, Mansell, & Whelton, 2011). Some local authorities do not have Serious Case Review procedures where to base reviews but adhere to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 whose main objective is to offer a legal structure for conduct and judgment making in aid of adults that do not have the capability to make some choices by themselves. The purpose of this review is:

To gain knowledge from experience

To better future performance by operating on the learning

To enhance multi-organization operation

To review protection adults practices

This purpose of this review is not concerning blame allotment. In case personal matters come about from any Serious Case Review, they ought to be administered by every organization in accordance with their normal practices.


              In cases where death has occurred in conjunction with proof or suspicion of abandonment or mistreatment, such cases ought to at all times lead to Serious Case Review. Where there at one time existed potentially acute injury because of possible maltreatment or abandonment and the instance or occurrence creates issues concerning the manner in which local services and experts have operated jointly, then a Serious Case Review ought to be regarded. Similar standards are relevant where mistreatment or abandonment has occurred, in an individual’s residence or care and healthcare setting, or where numerous abusers are probably engaged (Cambridge et al., 2011).

In an instance that perhaps ended in death of an elderly woman, the details were identified as lying in the Safeguarding Adult Board’s description of significance on grounds of the severe nature of abandonment and disregard she had encountered. This encompassed occurrences of mistreatment, anyone that was severe enough to lead to a referral to adult protection care in the regional authority, but encountered collective abandonment. Nevertheless, it was outstandingly exceptional for the reports to regard the concern of threshold explicitly thus complicating the knowledge of the rationale for carrying out a Serious Case Review (Cambridge & Parkes, 2006).

In simple terms, we fail to gain knowledge of the description of the seriousness being used for a Serious Case Review, or the person that has approved the Serious Case Review as having met its threshold (Cambridge & Parkes, 2006). Furthermore, one of the Serious Case Reviews reviewed, embarked on into an occurrence where demise or severe injury never happened, seemed to create some extremely helpful study for broad extents of organizations and recommends that a different threshold could be a system breakdown. The set back of this review was in the investigation and reporting on the conditions that brought about the letdown of care provision that led to the woman that had a learning disability being disregarded the entire night on a transport bus.

Teaching and recommendations from Serious Case Reviews

              The progression of gaining knowledge, the main rationale of Serious Case Reviews, perpetually leads to recommendations. Most of the Serious Case Reviews that were reviewed recognized discrepancies in inter-organization communication, the precise nature of the discrepancy relying, obviously, on the conditions (Aylett, 2009). The reports segregate the poor affiliations involving, for instance, care personnel, police, caregivers (relatives or physicians), the hospital workforce, and the facilities of adult protection in the regional authority. Outstandingly, some of the reports state on a deficiency of intelligibility as to lead organization, a function the regional authority was anticipated to carry out under No Secrets and that studies recommend had been identified and decided. Devoid of the organizations having a clear depiction, the failure to examine appropriately the threats to susceptible adults or that at hand in a care setting turned out to be more comprehensible following this review. This was pooled with a need for insight concerning adult protection measures, affirming a requirement for training or knowledge amid social and medical care personnel.


Aylett, J. (2008). Learning the lessons in training from abuse inquiries – findings and recommendations. Journal of Adult Protection, 10(4), 7-11.

Aylett, J. (2009). A model and strategy for multi-agency adult protection training in Kent and Medway. Journal of Adult Protection, 11(1), 13-20.

Benbow, S. (2008). Failures in the system: our inability to learn from inquiries. Journal of Adult Protection, 10(3), 5-13.

Brown, H. (2009). The process and function of serious case review. Journal of Adult Protection, 11(1), 38-50.

Cambridge, P., & Parkes, T. (2006). The Tension between Mainstream Competence and Specialization in Adult Protection: An Evaluation of the Role of the Adult Protection Coordinator. British Journal of Social Work, 36(2), 299-321.

Cambridge, P., Beadle-Brown, J., Milne, A., Mansell, J., & Whelton, B. (2011). Adult protection: The processes and outcomes of adult protection referrals in two English local authorities. Journal of Social Work, 11(3), 247-267.

Manthorpe, J., & Martineau, S. (2010). Serious case reviews in adult safeguarding in England: an analysis of a sample of reports. British journal of social work, 41(2), 1-18.

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A review of recent UK Serious Case Reviews relating to vulnerable adults. (8 August 2015). Retrieved from https://studyscroll.com/a-review-of-recent-uk-serious-case-reviews-relating-to-vulnerable-adults-essay

"A review of recent UK Serious Case Reviews relating to vulnerable adults" StudyScroll, 8 August 2015, https://studyscroll.com/a-review-of-recent-uk-serious-case-reviews-relating-to-vulnerable-adults-essay

StudyScroll. (2015). A review of recent UK Serious Case Reviews relating to vulnerable adults [Online]. Available at: https://studyscroll.com/a-review-of-recent-uk-serious-case-reviews-relating-to-vulnerable-adults-essay [Accessed: 4 June, 2023]

"A review of recent UK Serious Case Reviews relating to vulnerable adults" StudyScroll, Aug 8, 2015. Accessed Jun 4, 2023. https://studyscroll.com/a-review-of-recent-uk-serious-case-reviews-relating-to-vulnerable-adults-essay

"A review of recent UK Serious Case Reviews relating to vulnerable adults" StudyScroll, Aug 8, 2015. https://studyscroll.com/a-review-of-recent-uk-serious-case-reviews-relating-to-vulnerable-adults-essay

"A review of recent UK Serious Case Reviews relating to vulnerable adults" StudyScroll, 8-Aug-2015. [Online]. Available: https://studyscroll.com/a-review-of-recent-uk-serious-case-reviews-relating-to-vulnerable-adults-essay. [Accessed: 4-Jun-2023]

StudyScroll. (2015). A review of recent UK Serious Case Reviews relating to vulnerable adults. [Online]. Available at: https://studyscroll.com/a-review-of-recent-uk-serious-case-reviews-relating-to-vulnerable-adults-essay [Accessed: 4-Jun-2023]

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