Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child in Need)
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure outlines the immediate steps to be taken in the event of the death of or serious injury to a child living in Merton (where there are suspicions of abuse or neglect) and the death of/serious injury to any Looked After Child (whether or not the abuse or neglect is known or suspected) within Merton.
These steps are in addition to any Rapid Review or Child Safeguarding Practice Review which may be commissioned and the work of the Child Death Overview Panel. Note: local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.
This procedure uses the expression Designated Manager (Death of a Child). This Designated Manager must also be notified in circumstances where there is a serious injury to a child. Within Merton the Designated Manager (Death of a Child), is the Assistant Director, and the Principal Social Worker, Safeguarding Standards and Training.
Also see: Local Resources.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was reviewed and refreshed where required in December 2020.
1. Death of or Serious Injury of a Child in the Community where there are Suspicions of Abuse or Neglect
Local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.
Serious incidents which should be reported are those where the local authority knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected and:
- The child dies (including suspected suicide) or is seriously harmed in the local authority's area;
- While normally resident in the local authority's area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England
The process for reporting a serious incident to the Panel via the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System is set out in the following: Report A Serious Child Safeguarding Incident (GOV.UK). The Panel will share all notifications with Ofsted and the DfE
The following tasks are also required:
The allocated social worker or, if not previously known to Children's Social Care, the duty social worker receiving the information will:
|1.2||The social worker's supervisory line manager will immediately inform their HOS and Principal Social worker and provide a case analysis in writing as soon as possible afterwards.|
The relevant Head of Service will:
Local authorities should use the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System to notify the Panel. The Panel will share all notifications with Ofsted and the DfE. The report 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. Before you start you will need:
A copy of the completed form should be saved and printed out for the records.
In urgent situations, the Principal Social worker, Assistant Director or Director of Children's Services should telephone Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 and then complete the form. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.
|1.5||Where a Child Safeguarding Practice Review is to be held, the Assistant Director, Children's Social Care and Youth Inclusion will determine the most appropriate person to carry out the Internal Management Review (IMR) of the case within Children's Services. This review must be written in accordance with the expectations that are set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children and the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership 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 Child Safeguarding Practice Review local Panel, the author should consult with the Assistant Director, Children, Schools and Families, who must endorse the report.|
|1.6||The recommendations and action plan of the Internal Management Review report should be reported to the Senior Leadership Team of Children's Services as well as to the Merton Safeguarding Children Partnership, 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 of a Child) or their nominee.|
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.
The child's social worker will:
The line manager will:
The relevant Head of Service will:
The report to the national Panel is the same as the previously outlined online report above. In the event of a Child Safeguarding Practice 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 Workers / Team / Manager / Carers
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 workers / team / manager / carer(s) 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 Child Safeguarding Practice 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 Head of Service;
- 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.