This year, independent reviews have featured regularly in the headlines. For example, the growing number of allegations about sexual abuse in schools and colleges recorded on the websitehas prompted a number of institutions to take action. A thoughtfully commissioned independent review can be effective way of dealing with all manner of concerns whether they relate to safeguarding, staff conduct, or general workplace culture. However, getting the commissioning right is the key to success.
Here are some practical tips on getting your commissioning right first time.
- Recover and keep safe all relevant records at the earliest opportunity. This minimises the opportunity for documents to be lost/mislaid or changed after the event(s). Keep a log of what you recover.
- Write terms of reference – think why you need a review and what you want it to achieve
- Make immediate improvements – in short, if you can fix a system, process, policy or remedy a behaviour, then do
- Support victims, families and staff – adverse incidents can affect all involved
- Appoint the right review team – select carefully and with an eye to the skills & expertise needed. And not everyone needs to come from your sector. Outside perspectives bring great value.
- Manage the process – ask for updates about process and monitor the budget. However, also recognise the review team’s independence.
- Implement recommendations – the hardest part of the review starts at the page marked ‘recommendations’. This is why you commissioned the work.
- Handle communications – announce what you are doing and, if you plan on publishing the report, take expert advice and manage the process
- Liaise with other agencies – for example, the local safeguarding board, your regulator and the police