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1.5.13 Ofsted Notifications of Serious Childcare Incidents: Guidance

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure provides details of the process for notifying Ofsted of any serious childcare incident, whether occurring within the community, within a regulated service or setting, or concerning a child who is Looked After or where FGM has occurred.

This chapter was added to the procedures manual in October 2017.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Responding to the Death (Including Suspected Suicide) or Serious Injury of a Child in the Community
  3. Responding to the Death (Including Suspected Suicide) or Serious Injury of a Looked After Child
  4. The Death of a Child in a Regulated Setting or Service
  5. Cases Where Female Genital Mutilation are Identified 


1. Introduction

In accordance with Working Together 2015, the Local Authority is required to notify Ofsted and the Local Safeguarding Children Board of any “serious childcare incident”, specifically:

  • Responding to the death (including suspected suicide) or serious injury of a child in the community;
  • Responding to the death (including suspected suicide) or serious injury of a Looked After Child;
  • The death of a Looked After Child;
  • The death of a child in a regulated setting or service;
  • Cases where Female Genital Mutilation are identified.

The purpose of these procedures is therefore to ensure that:

  • It is clear when the Local Authority is required to notify Ofsted of a serious childcare incident;
  • The arrangements for responding to serious childcare incidents are clear and that there is sufficient scrutiny and challenge of decision-making.

Statutory Framework;

These procedures are underpinned by the following legal frameworks:

  • Children Act 1989, Schedule 2, paragraph 20(1)(a);
  • Working Together 2015, Chapter 4, paragraph 13-16;
  • Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015, Part V, s.40;
  • Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, Schedule 6 and Schedule;
  • Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE, March 2014).

Definitions:

For the purposes of these procedures, ‘serious injury’ includes any injury, which is life-threatening or which may cause significant, long-term impairment or disability to the child.

Responsibilities:

The Service Director, Children's Services is responsible for ensuring that Ofsted is notified, without delay, of a death or serious injury of a child. Other responsibilities are detailed in the following processes.


2. Responding to the Death (Including Suspected Suicide) or Serious Injury of a Child in the Community

Where information comes to notice of the death or serious injury to a child living in the community, where abuse or neglect are a possible cause or contributory factor, the following actions should be taken:

2.1 The Child's Social Worker will:

  • Immediately inform his or her Team Manager;
  • Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury, usually by liaison with the Police, and pass this to the relevant Team Manager; and
  • Take any necessary action, in consultation with their line manager and Senior Manager (SM), Police and Health partners, to safeguard any surviving child or siblings, in accordance with child protection procedures.

2.2 The Team Manager will:

  • Immediately inform their SM, and Service Director, Children's Services by telephone and provide follow-up information by e-mail as soon as possible;
  • Ensure any necessary support is made available to staff;
  • Ensure any on-going safeguarding issues are responded to.

2.3 The SM will:

2.4 The Service Director, Children's Services will:

  • Immediately inform the Director of Children's Services, who will come to a decision about whether to notify members;
  • Inform Ofsted within 1 working day, using the online Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents;
  • Consider, in consultation with the Chair of the Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB), the appropriate response under the NSCB procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review in accordance with LSCB Regulations 2006;
  • Come to a decision about the need for a Multi-Agency Deep Dive Review of the case and if so, the appropriate person to conduct the review, in consultation with the Chair of NSCB Case Review Sub Committee;
  • Where a Serious Case Review or Multi-Agency Deep Dive Review is to be conducted, ensure the electronic files (and all other records) relating to the child are secured;
  • Agree with the chair of the NSCB when and how to inform other relevant agencies about the death/serious injury and remind them to secure their files where a review is likely to be required;
  • Consider any media considerations and liaise with the local authority’s media office as necessary.


3. Responding to the death (including suspected suicide) or serious injury of a Looked After Child

Where information comes to notice of the death of/or serious injury to a child who is Looked After, the following actions should be taken:

3.1 The Child's Social Worker will:

  • Immediately inform his or her Team Manager;
  • In consultation with the Team Manager and SM, agree arrangements for:
    • Notifying the child’s parents;
    • In the event of a child's death, discussing with the parent(s) and reaching agreement regarding the arrangements for the funeral. (In the event of sudden, unexplained deaths, arrangements for the funeral may need to be delayed);
    • In the event of a serious injury to the child, arranging with the parent(s) to visit the child in hospital if appropriate;
    • Payments of any necessary expenditure including reasonable travel expenses to assist the family to attend the funeral or visit the child in hospital where it appears there is financial hardship.
  • Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury and pass this to their team manager;
  • Where the child was in a long term foster placement, discuss with the line manager any possible conflict between the carers and the parents regarding arrangements for the child's funeral.

3.2 The Team Manager will:

  • Immediately inform their SM, Service Director, Children's Services, by telephone and provide follow-up information by e-mail as soon as possible;
  • Liaise with Family Placement Service Manager with regard to any safeguarding issues for other children in placement, and with regard to the support needs of the carers and other children;
  • Liaise with Senior Manager – Looked After Children Services (if the child is/was living in a Local Authority residential care home) with regard to any safeguarding issues for other children in the residential care home, and with regard to the support needs of the staff and other children in the home;
  • Advise senior manager for the Independent Reviewing Service;
  • Advise Legal Services by telephone, confirming details by secure e-mail.

3.3 The SM will:

  • Consider the need for a rapid response meeting following the NSCB child death overview procedures meeting in consultation with others;
  • Chair the strategy discussions in relation to the death.

3.4 The Service Director, Children's Services will:

  • Immediately inform the Director of Children's Services, who will come to a decision about whether to notify members;
  • Inform Ofsted within 1 working day, using the online Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents;
  • Consider, in consultation with the Chair of the Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board the need to hold appropriate meetings under the NSCB procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review in accordance with NSCB Regulations 2006;
  • Come to a decision about the need for a Multi-Agency Deep Dive Review of the case and if so, the appropriate person to conduct the review, in consultation with the Chair of NSCB Case Review Sub-Committee;
  • Where a Serious Case Review or Multi-Agency Deep Dive Review is to be conducted, ensure the electronic files (and all other records) relating to the child are secured;
  • Agree with the chair of the NSCB when and how to inform other relevant agencies about the death/serious injury and remind them to secure their files where a review is likely to be required;
  • Consider any media considerations and liaise with the local authority’s media office as necessary.


4. Responding to the death or serious injury of a child in a Regulated Settings or Services


5. Responding to Cases where Female Genital Mutilation are identified 

Where information comes to notice where FGM has taken place:

5.1 The child's social worker will:

5.2 The Team Manager will:

  • Immediately inform their SM, Service Director, Children's Services, by telephone and provide follow-up information by e-mail as soon as possible;
  • Liaise with the Paediatric services where it is believed that FGM has already taken place to ensure that a Medical Assessment takes place;
  • Notify the police if they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl who is under 18 (either if they have visually confirmed it or it has been verbally disclosed by an affected girl);
  • Advise Legal Services by telephone, confirming details by secure e-mail.

5.3 The SM will:

  • Chair the strategy discussions in relation to FGM and protecting other members of the family;
  • Children’s Social Care Services in consultation with the Police will undertake a Section 47 Enquiry if it has reason to believe that a child is likely to suffer or has suffered FGM.

5.4 The Service Director, Children's Services will:

  • Immediately inform the Director of Children's Services, who will come to a decision about whether to notify members;
  • Inform Ofsted within 1 working day, using the online Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents;
  • Consider, in consultation with the Chair of the Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB), the appropriate response under the NSCB procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review in accordance with LSCB Regulations 2006;
  • Come to a decision about the need for a Multi-Agency Deep Dive Review of the case and if so, the appropriate person to conduct the review, in consultation with the Chair of NSCB Case Review Sub Committee;
  • Where a Serious Case Review or Multi-Agency Deep Dive Review is to be conducted, ensure the electronic files (and all other records) relating to the child are secured;
  • Agree with the chair of the NSCB when and how to inform other relevant agencies about the death/serious injury and remind them to secure their files where a review is likely to be required;
  • Consider any media considerations and liaise with the local authority’s media office as necessary.

End