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

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter outlines the immediate 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 (Looked After).

These steps are in addition to the carrying out of the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards' Procedures in relation to the need to hold a Serious Case Review and the work of the Child Death Overview Panel.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was reviewed in December 2017 and updated to reflect current processes to be followed in Derbyshire when Children’s Social Care are notified of a serious childcare incident, including notification to Ofsted.


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 / Service / Manager / Carer


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

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

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 and pass this to the line manager.

The line manager will immediately inform the Strategic Director of Early Help & Safeguarding for Childrens Services by telephone and provide follow up information in writing as soon as possible afterwards. This information will then be passed on to the Safeguarding Children Board.

The Strategic Director 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. e. 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. Notify the Safeguarding Children Board and arrange, in consultation with the Safeguarding Board Manager, appropriate meetings under the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards’ Procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review or referral to the Child Death Overview Panel;
  7. Instruct the Safeguarding Childrens Board to inform Ofsted using the Ofsted Online Notification of serious childcare incident for local authorities Form.

The Strategic Director will request the Safeguarding Children Board complete the Ofsted online form. The contents entered must be reviewed by the Strategic Director 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 filed within the Safeguarding Childrens Board system.

In urgent situations, the Strategic Director for Early Help & Safeguarding or Director of Children’s Services should telephone Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 and then request for the form to be submitted.

Where a Serious Case Review is to be held, this must be conducted in accordance with Chapter 4: Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 and the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards' Procedures.

If a decision is made by the Chair of the Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board not to hold a Serious Case Review, this should be notified to the Department for Education, Ofsted and the National Panel of Independent Experts in accordance with the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards’ Procedures. However, the Strategic Director may still decide that there are issues arising from the case which justify an internal management review.


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

Where information is received regarding the of the death of or serious injury to a child in care, the following tasks are required.

The child's social worker will:

  1. Immediately inform their line manager;
  2. Notify the parent(s) 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;
  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.

The line manager will:

  1. Immediately inform the Strategic Director by telephone and provide follow up information in writing as soon as possible afterwards. This information will then be passed on to the Safeguarding Children Board;
  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.

The Strategic Director 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. Where a review is to be conducted, collect any files held on the child and family and secure them at his or her office;
  4. 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;
  5. Notify the Safeguarding Children Board and arrange, in consultation with the Safeguarding Board Manager, appropriate meetings under the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards’ Procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review or referral to the Child Death Overview Panel;
  6. Instruct the Safeguarding Children Board to inform Ofsted using the Online Notification of serious childcare incidents Form.

The online submission to Ofsted process is the same as previously outlined 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 / Service / 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 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