South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures
South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures

1.5.1 Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child In Need)

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter outlines the steps to be taken in the event of the suspicious death of/serious injury to a child living in the community or the death of/serious injury to any Child in Care.

These steps are in addition to the carrying out of the South West Child Protection Procedures in relation to the need to hold a Serious Case Review and the work of the Child Death Overview Panel.

This chapter uses the expression Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child). This person should also be notified in circumstances where there is a serious injury to a child.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, Chapter 4: Learning and improvement framework, Serious Case Reviews

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in November 2017 in line with the requirement to notify Ofsted of any serious childcare incident using the Ofsted Online Notification of serious childcare incident for local authorities form.


Contents

  1. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child in the Community
  2. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child in Care
  3. Needs of Social Worker / Team / Manager / Carer


1. Death of or Serious Injury of a Child in the Community

Where information about the suspicious death of a child, or serious injury to a child, living in the community, the following tasks are required:

1.1

The child's social worker or, if unallocated, the duty worker receiving the information will:

  1. Immediately inform their line manager;
  2. Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury, as well as the Children Social Care history if known, and pass this to the line manager.
1.2  The line manager will immediately inform the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child, (this contact could be by telephone or face to face) and provide follow up information in writing as soon as possible afterwards.
1.3

The Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child) will:

  1. Inform the Director of Children's Services, who will notify local authority members as necessary;
  2. Ascertain as full details as possible from the Police and any other source;
  3. Request their administrative staff to check Children's Services records on the child and family and print out any information held;
  4. Collect any files held on the child and family and secure them in the correct office location;
  5. Arrange through their administrative staff how to inform the other relevant agencies about the death/serious injury and remind them to secure their files;
  6. Arrange to consider the circumstances of the death/serious injury, in accordance with the South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review and a referral to the Child Death Overview Panel;
  7. Inform Ofsted using the Ofsted Online Notification of serious childcare incident for local authorities form.
1.4

The report to Ofsted is submitted online and the contents entered must be reviewed by the Designated Manager before it is submitted. The form requires a range of information and is set out clearly in sections. A copy of the completed form should be saved and printed out for the records.

In urgent situations, the Deputy Director of Children's Services should telephone Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 and then complete the form.

1.5 Where a Serious Case Review is to be held, the Local Safeguarding Children Board or the Designated Manager (Death of a Child) will determine whether an Internal Management Review (IMR) should be undertaken within Children's Social Care and who should undertake it. (See Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, Chapter 4: Learning and improvement framework, Serious Case Reviews). This Review should be written in accordance with the LSCB expectations, (previously set out under Chapter 8 'Working Together 2010' (archived) and South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures). This will include the preparation of a detailed Chronology of what is contained in the records, the carrying out of interviews with members of staff where necessary, a critical analysis of the social work practice and an action plan based on the report findings and recommendations. Prior to presenting the IMR to the Serious Case Review Panel, the author should consult with the Head of Children's Services, who must endorse the report.
1.6 The recommendations and action plan of the Internal Management Review report should be reported to the Senior Management Team of Children's Services as well as to the Local Safeguarding Children Board, together with a report of any follow-up action. The recommendations and action plan should also be fed back to all relevant staff by the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child) or his/her nominee.
1.7 If a decision is made not to hold a Serious Case Review by the Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children Board, this will be notified to the Department for Education in accordance with the South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures. However, the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child), may still decide that there are issues arising from the case which justify an internal management review as described in paragraph 1.5 and paragraph 1.6.


2. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child in Care

Where information comes to notice of the death of or serious injury to a child in care, the following tasks are required.

2.1

The child's social worker will:

  1. Immediately inform their line manager;
  2. Notify the parent(s)/carers and others with parental responsibility immediately and in person, if possible;
  3. In the event of a child's death, discuss with the parent(s) and reach agreement regarding the arrangements for the funeral (in the event of sudden, unexplained deaths arrangements for the funeral may need to be delayed);
  4. In the event of a serious injury to the child, arrange with the parent(s) to visit the child in hospital, so long as this is in the child's best interest;
  5. Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury and pass this to their line manager; and
  6. Discuss with the line manager any necessary expenditure including reasonable travel expenses to assist the family in attending the funeral or visiting the child in hospital where it appears there is financial hardship;
  7. 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.
2.2

The line manager will:

  1. Immediately inform the Designated Manager (Death of a Child) and provide follow up information in writing as soon as possible afterwards;
  2. Advise Legal Services initially by telephone, then confirm details in writing; and
  3. Contact the Insurance Section of the Finance Department, initially by telephone and then in writing.
2.3

The Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child) will:

  1. Inform the Director of Children's Services, who will come to a decision about whether to notify the local authority Members;
  2. Ensure that the parents' wishes concerning the funeral are discussed (by the social worker or the team manager), that any possible conflict with the wishes of the carers are also ascertained and addressed, and that any appropriate associated costs are met;
  3. Come to a decision about the need for an internal management review of the case and if so, the appropriate person to conduct the review;
  4. Where a review is to be conducted, collect any files held on the child and family and secure them at his or her office;
  5. Arrange through his or her administrative staff 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;
  6. Arrange, in consultation with the Local Safeguarding Children, Child Protection Manager, appropriate meetings under the South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review;
  7. Inform Ofsted using the Ofsted Online Notification of serious childcare incident for local authorities form.
2.4

The report to Ofsted is the same as the previously outlined online report above.

In the event of a Serious Case Review and/or internal management review being required, the steps outlined in Section 3, Needs of Social Worker/Team/Manager/Carer should be followed.


3. Needs of Social Worker / Team / Managers / Carer

During the implementation of this procedure consideration must be given to the needs of those staff and carers involved in the case.

The impact of a child death on social worker/team/manager/carer needs to be addressed in terms of:

  • The need for debriefing/counselling for those involved;
  • The manner in which such support is offered;
  • The provision of access to legal and professional advice about the ongoing conduct of the case;
  • The provision of a clear explanation of the process of a Serious Case Review;
  • Support for staff in the event of Police investigation/interviews;
  • The need to inform and keep informed any relevant Trades Unions;
  • The need for team debriefing whilst observing confidentiality. This must be discussed with the Service Manager;
  • The need to acknowledge that a child death can impact on the productivity of any team and its ability to function; and the need to agree strategies to manage workloads.

End