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4.7 Guidance for Staff: Reporting Serious Incidents and/or Child Deaths

RELATED CHAPTER

Notifications of Significant Events Procedure

This chapter was added to the manual in January 2017.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Internal Notifications
  3. Submission of a Serious Incident Notification to Ofsted


1. Introduction

This document provides guidance to staff with regard to the reporting and notification of serious incidents and/or child deaths in Children’s Social Care. The guidance outlines:

  • The circumstances and/or events which require urgent internal reporting to the Service Director for Children’s Social Care and Senior Managers;
  • Statutory responsibilities for notifying Ofsted of serious child care incidents via a Serious Incident Notification.


2. Internal Notifications

In the event of any serious incident and/or child death and/or any incident involving a child that is likely to cause media attention, the Service Director and relevant Group Manager must to be notified via e-mail by the appropriate Children’s Service Manager as soon as possible. Such events may include:

  • A serious incident involving any child, including where a child has been seriously harmed;
  • A child or young person who has gone missing and is assessed as at risk of serious harm (this will always include looked after children);
  • The death of a child that was open to children’s social care;
  • The death of any child, where abuse or neglect are thought to have contributed to the child’s death (including suspected suicide);
  • The death of any child, in unusual circumstances or such as is likely to lead to media attention.

The Service Director will then decide whether Elected Members, the Chief Executive and/or colleagues in Communications & Marketing need to be informed. In some cases, there may also be a requirement on the County Council to submit a Serious Incident Notification to Ofsted, if the incident meets specified criteria (see Section 3, Submission of a Serious Incident Notification to Ofsted).


3. Submission of a Serious Incident Notification to Ofsted

In accordance with Working Together to Safeguarding Children 2015, Nottinghamshire County Council is required to report any incident that meets the criteria of a ‘notifiable incident’ to Ofsted within five working days of becoming aware of the incident.

What is a Notifiable Incident?

Ofsted define a notifiable incident as an incident involving the care of a child which meets any of the following criteria:

  • A child has died (including cases of suspected suicide), and abuse or neglect is known or suspected;
  • A child has been seriously harmed and abuse or neglect is known or suspected;
  • A looked after child has died (including cases where abuse or neglect is not known or suspected); or
  • A child in a regulated setting or service has died (including cases where abuse or neglect is not known or suspected).

“Seriously harmed” in the context of the above includes, but is not limited to, cases where the child has sustained, as a result of abuse or neglect, any or all of the following:

  • A potentially life-threatening injury;
  • Serious and/or likely long-term impairment of physical or mental health or physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioral development.

This definition is not exhaustive. In addition, even if a child recovers, this does not mean that serious harm cannot have occurred.

For the avoidance of doubt, if an incident meets the criteria for a Serious Case Review (see Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Board Procedures) then it will also meet the criteria for a notifiable incident (above). There will, however, be notifiable incidents that do not proceed through to Serious Case Review.

Responsibility to Report

On deciding whether the criteria for a Serious Incident Notification has been met, it is the responsibility of the relevant Children’s Service Manager and Group Manager to jointly agree whether a notification is to be submitted to Ofsted. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes Serious Incident Notifications in the event of a child death. This is not the responsibility of colleagues in Safeguarding & Independent Review.

Where it is agreed that a notification is to be submitted to Ofsted, it is the responsibility of the Children’s Service Manager to complete the online "Notification of Serious Childcare Incident" form within the prescribed timescale of five working days.

Each time a Serious Incident Notification is sent to Ofsted, the Children’s Service Manager must ensure that the submission is also copied to the Service Director (steve.edwards@nottscc.gov.uk), Corporate Director (colin.pettigrew@nottscc.gov.uk) and the Child Death¬†Administrator, Carol Fowler¬†(carol.fowler@nottscc.gov.uk).

When the Serious Incident Notification is submitted to Ofsted you will receive acknowledgement by way of email which contains a SIN reference number. This email should be forwarded to the Child Death Administrator.

Click here for the Ofsted online notification form.

The Child Death Administrator will maintain a matrix of all Serious Incident Notifications.

The Group Manager who authorises the submission of the SIN to Ofsted must liaise with the Service Director to consider if the case should be referred to Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board Serious Incident Review (SIR) sub group for consideration of a serious case review.

If a decision is made to make a referral to the SIR sub group a referral form should be submitted to the Child death Administrator by the Group Manager. This can be found in the interagency Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Board Procedures.

If a decision is made not to make a referral for consideration of a Serious Case Review the Child Death Administrator should be informed by the Group Manager by email.

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