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1.4.1 Death of, or Serious Injury to, Child in Community or Child Looked After

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 Looked After.

These steps are in addition to actions required in accordance with the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures in relation to holding 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.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in December 2017 to reflect the requirement to notify Ofsted of any serious childcare incident using the Ofsted Online Notification of a 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 Looked After
  3. Needs of Social Worker / Team / Manager / Carer


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

Where information is received 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 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) by telephone 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 and Families' 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 and Families' 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 administrative staff 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 West Yorkshire Consortium 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 a 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 (for example where it is expected that there will be publicity surrounding the death / serious injury), the Deputy Director or Director of Children’s Services should telephone Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 and then complete the form at a later time.
1.5 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 West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures.
1.6 If the Chair of Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership determines that it will not be necessary to hold a Serious Case Review, this will be notified to Ofsted, Department for Education and the National Panel of Independent Experts on Serious Case Reviews in accordance with the West Yorkshire Consortium Procedures.


2. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child Looked After

Where information comes to notice of the death of or serious injury to a Child Looked After, the following tasks are required.

2.1

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 serious injury to the child, arrange with the parent(s) to visit the child in hospital;
  4. In the event of a child's death, discuss and agree with the parent(s) arrangements for the funeral (in the event of sudden, unexplained deaths arrangements for the funeral may need to be delayed);
  5. 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);
  6. Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury and pass this to their line manager; and
  7. 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;
  8. 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) by telephone 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 and Families' 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. Arrange, in consultation with the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board Manager, appropriate meetings under the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review;
  4. Inform Ofsted using the Ofsted Online Notification of a serious childcare incident for local authorities form.
2.4

The report to Ofsted is the same as the previously outlined above. (See Paragraph 1.4.)

In the event of a Serious Case 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 counselling for those involved;
  • The manner in which such support is offered;
  • The provision of access to legal and professional advice about the on-going 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