The SILP model has been used since 2009 to review cases using a systems methodology. The key principle of the SILP is that it involves practitioners and their managers, revealing what affected practice and decision making at the time. Our tried and tested model has now been adapted for case file audits.
Working Together 2018 (32) states that the safeguarding partners should agree how reviews are conducted, to ensure there is a way of looking at and analysing frontline practice as well as organisational learning.
Quality assurance of practice, including through joint audits of case files involving practitioners and families, continue to form part of this review activity. It is another tool in the toolkit for identifying lessons to be learned.
MALP reviews enable the safeguarding partners to ensure there is an independent and rigorous process in place to meet this statutory function. These audits will provide insight and evidence for the recommended improvements identified by safeguarding partners in the final report.
MALPs highlight good practice as well as identifying any shortcomings. As with all SILP reviews they are underpinned by a systems methodology and are proportionate with professionals involved fully.
There is an option to engage with families as part of the process to enhance learning.
Like the SILP method, the MALP is rooted in systems methodology. It looks at the way that agencies work together to safeguard children. It recognises issues and blockages in systems, and seeks to understand why professionals work in the ways that they do. The voice of the practitioners is represented in the process, which provides a quality of information and understanding not provided by traditional case record auditing.
The Principles of MALP
MALP is also underpinned by the engagement of frontline staff. While the case records are audited by Designated and Specialist Safeguarding staff, the involvement of frontline staff and first line managers ensures ownership and a commitment to learning and dissemination. The MALP is a collaborative and analytical process which asks ‘why’ as well as what happened. MALP is based on open and transparent learning from practice, in order to improve inter-agency working.
The MALP Process
MALP audits tend to be thematic and consider the on-going work being undertaken with a child and their family by the agencies involved.
An audit of the agency records are undertaken by a safeguarding lead or off-line manager within the organisation, using an audit tool devised to reflect the child’s journey through the system, prior to the Learning Event. The tool is tailored to each theme to ensure it includes any specific expectations (for example whether agencies are following multi agency procedure for CSE.) It includes the early identification of issues, assessment, plans, supervision and voice of the child.
Our methodology involves bringing together practitioners and agency auditors for a Learning Event to debate the case. They will contribute to the knowledge about the case and help to identify any learning highlighted by the case, including learning from good practice.
An overview report is completed by the MALP Lead Reviewer, and it will include
clear statements of learning for the safeguarding partners and partner agencies and recommendations if required.
Our role is to ensure that a robust yet sensitive environment is created within which issues may be explored. It is our aim that practitioners will be encouraged to regularly embark on these learning experiences for their own development, and will ensure the learning is shared within their agencies.