Case reading

Developed by the Children's Research Centre (CRC) and implemented in February 2006, case reading is a process aimed at improving the quality of assessment and decision-making. Case reading is primarily undertaken by senior practitioners within each Child Safety Service Centre (CSSC), who conduct a sample of case readings each month.

Policy and procedures for case reading are outlined in the Case reading manual. The completion of case reading is assisted through the use of the Case reading spreadsheet.

Case reading is...Case reading isn't...
  • A strengths based approach
  • A method to promote practice discussion and reflection
  • A method to identify and share examples of quality practice
  • About the development of a learning culture and organisation
  • A deficit based approach
  • Compliance focused
  • About not trusting people or their practice
  • A way to “check up” on practitioners or catch them doing something wrong


The primary purpose of case reading is to strengthen the skill of practitioners and consolidate quality assessment and decision-making across the child protection continuum. It aims to improve assessments by providing feedback and promoting discussion and reflection.


Case reading is an approach that facilitates the detailed review of a small, random sample of cases using a specific set of questions for SDM assessment or work phase. It therefore provides a systematic and objective methodology for the appraisal of the knowledge and skills of individual practitioners and teams. By conducting case reading, the case reader is better able to identify practice strengths and needs within their workgroup and lead practitioners toward quality practice.

Practitioners can use information identified from case reading in a number of ways to improve practice. Case reading feedback can be provided to individual practitioners, teams or across the CSSC. If trends are noted over time, case reading data can be utilised in the development of strategies to enhance practice, including coaching, mentoring or training.