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Need to Know / Serious Incident Notification Procedures

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This Need to Know /Serious Incident notification procedure outlines:

  • The circumstances and/or events which require urgent internal reporting to the Director of Children’s Services and Senior Managers;
  • The responsibility to notify the LSCB to ensure due consideration is given to whether the Child Death process or the Serious Case Review procedures need to be instigated;
  • Statutory responsibilities for notifying external bodies such as Ofsted, the DfE and the HSE of serious child care incidents.

RELATED CHAPTER

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


Contents

1. Internal Notifications
  1.1 Introduction
  1.2 Circumstances which Require a Director Briefing
  1.3 Format for Initial Briefing - All Cases
2. External Notifications - Statutory Notifications to Ofsted, Other External Bodies and the Darlington Safeguarding Children Board
  2.1 Notifications - All Children
  2.2 Notifications - Children Placed in Foster Care
  2.3 Notifications - Children Placed in Children's Homes
  2.4 Notifying the Regulatory Authority/HSE
Appendix A: Need To Know/Serious Incident Notification (Internal)


1. Internal Notifications

1.1 Introduction

This procedure aims to be as comprehensive as possible but will inevitably omit some circumstances. If you are in any doubt about the need for reporting to the Director, consult with your immediate manager.

All Need to Know Reports must be copied to relevant line managers for the matter and other senior managers must be copied in as judged appropriate.

The Director will decide whether Members or the Chief Executive need to be informed.

1.2 Circumstances which Require a Director Briefing

The Director needs to be briefed by the relevant Service Manager in the following circumstances:

Service Users

  • Death or serious injury to any service user – adult or child – in particular:
  • Death on a local authority premises, or when a local authority member of staff is present;
  • Death in situations where the death is unusual or expected/unexpected;
  • Death or serious injury of child in care or subject to a Child Protection Plan, including circumstances where death or serious injury were narrowly avoided;
  • Death or serious injury of any child who is an open case to Children’s Services;
  • Serious accidents or injuries which occur in unusual or unexpected circumstances. Particularly, if these occur in the presence of a member of staff. If death is the likely outcome in these circumstances the Chief Executive should also be informed;
  • Involvement in violent incidents, whilst on local authority premises, in the company of local authority staff, or where there are serious implications for staff working with that person;
  • Cases of serious communicable diseases in school or residential premises;
  • Missing children: Missing for over 24 hours, where the child is Looked After, subject to a Child Protection Plan or otherwise vulnerable;
  • Any media coverage relating to service users where that may impact on the Council.

Staff

  • Allegations of gross misconduct;
  • Unexpected death or serious injury;
  • Significant accidents or injuries at work. (This is in addition to the standard health and safety procedures that should be followed for all accidents);
  • Involvement in violent incidents;
  • Allegations of arrests or convictions for criminal offences;
  • Any media coverage relating to members of staff where that may impact on the Council.

Service Premises and Schools

  • Serious of significant damage resulting from floods, accidental fire etc;
  • Significant vandalism or burglary;
  • Any incidence of arson.

Controversies

  • Matters of public debate or anxiety;
  • Major complaints implicating the service;
  • Matters likely to attract local or national interest;
  • Any matter which has, or is likely to attract the attention of the media, Members of the Council or Members of Parliament.

Significant Legal Proceedings

  • Proceedings likely to attract public/or media interest. This will include criminal trials resulting from child protection proceedings;
  • With potentially high or policy implications;
  • Inquests.

This list is not exhaustive and other categories of incidents may also fall within the definition of a serious incident. Managers will need to ensure that consideration is given to other serious incidents that do not fall within this procedure and use their judgment in discussion with senior managers as to whether the incident needs to be reported in line with this procedure. 

1.3 Format for Initial Briefing – All Cases

In the circumstances described above, the first line manager responsible for the case is responsible for drafting the briefing report. Where possible, the relevant senior manager should also be advised and consulted and contribute to the briefing. However, reports must not be delayed if they are not available.

The briefing should be emailed using the Need to Know / Serious Incident form (attached at Appendix A: Need To Know/Serious Incident Notification (Internal)). It must be copied to the relevant line managers responsible for the case or the matter. Where agreed as appropriate, the form should be sent to the DfE and the DSCB (see Section 2, External Notifications - Statutory Notifications to Ofsted, Other External Bodies and the Darlington Safeguarding Children Board).

The purpose of this proforma is to alert the Director to the incident or and to provide the information needed to form an initial opinion on what, if any, action is required on behalf of the service.

The purpose of the proforma is not expected to be a full report. Such a report will be requested at a later date if it is required.

The briefing should include details of the following;

  • Name of the adult/child subject of the notification;
  • Details of the Incident or issue;
  • Background to the Authority’s involvement i.e. period of time, reason for involvement, names of staff involved;
  • Details of child’s legal status if they are looked after, and registration category if they have a Child Protection Plan, ethnicity and religion etc;
  • Current situation;
  • Manager’s comment on situation (including risk analysis) and recommendation for action;
  • Lines to Take;
  • Further Action;
  • Next Update;
  • Date of notification to Ofsted;
  • Date of Notification to the Secretary of State at the Department for Education (DfE);
  • Outcome of discussion as to whether the case meets the criteria for notification to the DSCB Business Manager; and
  • Date of Notification to the DSCB Business Manager.

When to update the initial briefing

As a situation develops it will be necessary to provide regular updates to the Corporate Director. Updates should be provided whenever there has been a significant change in the situation.

For missing children or vulnerable adults, a weekly report is required.

NB: Arrangements must also be made to update Ofsted and the DfE where relevant. This must be discussed and agreed with the Head of Service prior to any information being shared.

Completion/resolution

When a situation has been resolved, please advise the Director of this with a brief report indicating reasons for resolution (e.g. missing child has returned) and identifying any learning points which can be picked up within the wider organisation.

For serious incidents there will be a formal debriefing meeting where learning points can be identified.


2. External Notifications - Statutory Notifications to Ofsted, other External Bodies and the Darlington Safeguarding Children Board

2.1 Notifications – All Children

All serious child care incidents must be notified to Ofsted and the DfE immediately, this should be done following discussion with senior managers within children’s social care. In appropriate cases the Safeguarding Board (DSCB) must be notified via the Board Business Manager.

It is the responsibility of the Service Manager to make sure the notifications below are completed in a timely manner.

For the purposes of statutory notifications to Ofsted, DfE and the DSCB a serious incident includes;

  • Death of a child (including suspected suicide) where abuse or neglect is known or suspected;
  • Serious injury to a child where abuse or neglect is known or suspected;
  • Death of a looked after child;
  • Death of a child in a regulated setting (i.e. care home, registered early years, child minders, or out of school childcare provision);
  • The unexpected or avoidable death of a child in receipt of services from Darlington Borough Council;
  • The death of a child subject to a child in need or child protection plan;
  • An incident that is serious enough that it may lead to a Serious Case Review under DSCB procedures;
  • An incident likely to result in significant media attention (e.g. a serious allegation against a professional);
  • Any case which indicates organised or large scale abuse, which has resulted in the DSCB Organised and Complex Abuse procedures being invoked;
  • Where a child has suffered serious harm as a result of a worker (employed by DBC) failing to follow procedures;
  • Where a registered provider (residential or early years) is closed following enforcement action by Ofsted.

2.2 Notifications - Children Placed in Foster Care

Regulation 36 and Schedule 7 of the Fostering Services Regulations 2011 set out the arrangements for notifications in relation to specified events.

Click here to view Schedule 7 Events and Notifications table.

2.3 Notifications - Children Placed in Children’s Homes

Regulation 40 of the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 sets out the arrangements for notifications in relation to specified events:

EVENT WHO TO NOTIFY
Death of a Resident.

Outside Agencies: 

Ofsted (National Business Unit: Tel 0300 123 1231)

The Health and Safety Executive

The Secretary of State for Children

The local authority in whose area the children’s home is located (if that local authority is not the placing authority)

The Clinical Commissioning Group for the area in which the home is located

If the child was accommodated in a secure children’s home, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales (“the PPO”); and

Any other relevant person.
Referral pursuant to section 35 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended) of an individual working in the Home.

Outside Agencies: 

Ofsted (National Business Unit: Tel 0300 123 1231)
Involvement or suspected involvement of a Resident in sexual exploitation.

Outside Agencies:

Ofsted (National Business Unit: 0300 123 1231)

The Police
Any incident requiring police involvement occurs in relation to a child which the registered manager considers to be serious

Outside Agencies:

Ofsted (National Business Unit: 0300 123 1231)

Any allegation of abuse against the home or a person working there.

Outside Agencies:

Ofsted (National Business Unit: 0300 123 1231)

Any other incident relating to a child which the registered manager considers to be serious

Outside Agencies:

Ofsted (National Business Unit: 0300 123 1231)
Instigation and outcome of any Child Protection Enquiry involving a Resident.

Outside Agencies

Ofsted (National Business Unit: 0300 123 1231)

In addition, the following notifications should be made:
Serious illness or serious accident sustained by a Child or employee. This includes serious or persistent self harming or attempted suicide.

Outside Agencies:

The Health and Safety Executive

*If a medical practitioner considers it to be notifiable under RIDDOR

Outbreak of any infectious disease which in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner is sufficiently serious to be so notified.

Outside Agencies

The Health and Safety Executive

A child accommodated at the Home is absent or missing.

Placing authority (where relevant)

Police (in accordance with the local Protocol on Missing Children)

2.4 Notifying the Regulatory Authority/HSE

2.4.1 The Regulatory Authority

Click here to access the Notification Form for Ofsted.

2.4.2 Health and Safety Executive

For information on notifying the Health and Safety Executive Incident Contact Centre:

T: 0845 300 99 23
E: riddor@connaught.plc.uk
www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/


Appendix A: Need To Know/Serious Incident Notification (Internal)

Click here to view Appendix A: Need To Know/Serious Incident Notification (Internal).

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