HMIE (2009) summarised the key areas in which local authorities need to improve in child protection from its first cycle of inspection. Evidence was sought around these areas using a combination of database, manual and citation searches to identify key literature. The following databases were searched: ASSIA, Social Services Abstracts and Sociological Abstracts (all through CSA), COPAC and ISI Web of Knowledge. Further material was identified via interviews with key informants for the project, website searches of relevant agencies and replies to requests for unpublished research made to all 30 Child Protection Committees in Scotland. This review has focussed on empirical research literature but also included highly relevant policy documents and expert opinion pieces undertaken in Scotland since 2000, or with clear applicability to the Scottish child protection context. International studies and studies completed prior to 2000 were excluded unless they were frequently cited in the UK literature or there was a lack of contemporary UK research in a particular area. Before inclusion, all research studies were subject to quality and relevance appraisal.