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Need To Know / Notification Policy

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter details the internal Sunderland ‘Need to Know’ Form and Notification System used for alerting managers to incidents. See also Notifications of Significant Events Procedure, which sets out when notifications need to be made to external organisations.

AMENDMENT

In July 2016, Appendix 1: Need To Know / Notification Policy Form was added.


Contents

  1. Policy
  2. Circumstances (Not Exclusive) that Require a 'Need To Know' Notification
  3. Need to Know Notification Form Completion
  4. Recording of 'Need To Know' Notification
  5. Circulation of 'Need To Know' Notification
  6. Updating of the 'Need To Know' Notification
  7. Management of 'Need To Know' Notification

    Appendix 1: Need To Know / Notification Policy Form


1. Policy

This guidance covers information regarding the Sunderland ‘Need to Know’ Notification system and outlines situations when a ‘Need to Know’ Notification should be completed. This information should also be read in conjunction with the Ofsted Notification guidance – see Notifications of Significant Events Procedure. In certain serious situations the Sunderland ‘Need to Know’ Notification may form the basis of an Ofsted Notification.

The Sunderland ‘Need to Know’ Form and Notification System is the method used to alert managers and senior managers to any situation regarding individual children/young people and/or group incidents that may pose a risk to children looked after and care leavers and where managers need to be appraised of the circumstances of the situation and the broader context. The system should also be used to alert managers and senior managers to any broader risks to Together for Children Sunderland and its staff/carers

The ‘Need to Know’ Notification should be used to alert managers to any situation that may pose a specific risk to an individual, Together for Children Sunderland and may need a strategic response which could include an Elected Member briefing, a co-ordinated response and/or the completion of an Ofsted Notification.

The manager will decide whether the circumstance requires a ‘Need to Know’ Notification.

If the Social Worker, Leaving Care Personal Adviser, Residential/Fostering Officer or Manager, is unsure whether a ‘Need to Know’ Notification should be completed, s/he should discuss the matter with his/her Line Manager.

A ‘Need to Know’ Notification can apply to:

  • All children and young people (looked after and care leavers) who come to the attention of and/or receive services from Together for Children Sunderland (and children/young people placed in Sunderland by other Local Authorities);
  • Staff and carers;
  • Members of the community who pose a risk to children/young people;
  • Service premises, schools and commissioned/partner agency premises;
  • Controversies;
  • Significant legal proceedings.

The Head of Children Looked After Services may nominate a specific Link Officer for a particular incident, who will co-ordinate a response with the relevant staff. The nominated Link Officer may request a further briefing for specific situations and may provide the briefing to Elected Members or the senior managers of partner services, e.g. the circumstances of large scale child protection enquiries involving multiple perpetrators and/or victims (children looked after and care leavers).

The Head of Children Looked After Services will compile an annual report identifying themes and trends arising from the ‘Need to Know’ Notification system.


2. Circumstances (Not Exclusive) that Require a 'Need To Know' Notification

Children Looked After/Care Leavers

  • Where a child looked after or care leaver dies;
  • A child looked after or care leaver has any serious injury or accident;
  • A child looked after or care leavers has significant missing episodes (i.e. over 24 hours and repeating patterns);
  • Where it is identified that a child looked after or care leaver is subject to, or potentially subject to significant risks;
  • Where a child looked after or care leaver makes an allegation regarding an offence from a person against them;
  • Where a child looked after or care leaver is arrested or convicted for serious criminal offences against a person;
  • Where it is identified that a child looked after or care leaver is involved in violent incident/s in the community, or on Sunderland Council premises, or where a member of staff, employed or commissioned, by Children Services is present;
  • Where there are serious implications for staff (employed or commissioned by Children Services) working with a specific child looked after or care leaver, or group of children/young people;
  • Where a child looked after or care leaver is subject of an investigation in respect of sexual exploitation;
  • Where a child looked after or care leaver requires admission to a mental health resource due to specific incidents;
  • Where a child looked after or care leavers is remanded into custody and/or receives a custodial sentence;
  • Where a child looked after or care leaver attempts suicide or undertakes serious self-harming episodes;
  • Where a child looked after or care leaver has a serious or communicable diseases in a school, residential premises or foster care placement;
  • Closure and/or an incident occurs at a residential home that has placements of a Sunderland children/young people, in particularly if the closure is unexpected or urgent.

Staff/Foster Carers/Commissioned Services – Children Looked After and Care Leavers

  • Where the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) is contacted and following consideration of the issue recommends the completion of a ‘Need to Know’ Notification;
  • Where a member of staff has a significant accident or injuries at work. This is in addition to the standard Health and Safety procedures that must be followed for all accidents;
  • Where a Foster Carer has a significant accident or injury. This is in addition to the standard Health and Safety procedures that must be followed for all accidents;
  • Where a member of staff or Foster Carer Is subject of a violent incident/s and, or significant threats of violence;
  • Where a member of staff or Foster Carer is subject of significant disciplinary matters;
  • Where a member of staff or Foster Carer has an unexpected/unexplained death or serious injury;
  • Where a member of staff or Foster Carer is subject of allegations of, arrest or conviction for serious criminal offences.

Financial and Complaints – Relating to Children Looked After and Care Leavers

  • Incidents where potentially high financial or policy implications occur e.g. Applications for judicial review, when leave has been granted;
  • Police investigations into suspected fraud or corruption involving employees or contractors;
  • High profile employment cases;
  • Significant complaints, issues likely to be raised by children looked after, care leavers and/or their family members and/or members of the public with elected members;
  • Significant complaints about our service or those that we commission.

Media – Relating to Children Looked After and Care Leaver:

  • Any media coverage relating to a child subject to a service from Together for Children Sunderland, including publicity relating to missing persons, child sexual exploitation or risk;
  • Any media coverage relating to a child subject to a service from Together for Children Sunderland, including publicity relating to missing persons;
  • Any media coverage or potential coverage where there may be an impact on the Council;
  • Matters of public debate or anxiety;
  • Matters likely to attract local or national media interest;
  • Any matter which has, or is likely, to attract the attention of the media, Members of the Council or Members of Parliament.

Premises - Relating to Children Looked After and Care Leavers:

  • Are subject of serious or significant damage resulting from flood, accidental fire etc.;
  • Are subject of significant vandalism or burglary;
  • Are subject of any incidence of arson.

Legal Proceedings, Relating to Children Looked After and Care Leavers

  • Likely to excite public and or media interest;
  • Inquests where the Council has an involvement or could be criticised;
  • Litigation between the Council, other Local Authorities, or public bodies on which the Council is represented or with whom it has a close relationship;
  • Sensitive cases, e.g. proceedings concerning the death of a client, prosecutions or breaches of regulations in relation to registered homes, closure of a registered home, litigation concerning residents in a children’s home;
  • Prosecutions by or against the Council.

The manager will arrange completion of the ‘Need to Know’ Notification Form, including Section 7, setting out what action will be taken. The manager will send to the Notificationnss@sunderland.gov.uk and Head of Children Looked After.


3. Need to Know Notification Form Completion

The ‘Need to Know’ Notification is not intended to be a full report. It alerts the relevant Senior Managers to an incident and provides the information needed to form an initial opinion on what, if any, action is required by the relevant service and a fuller reports will be requested at a later date if it is required.

The ‘Need to Know’ Notification will include (appropriate to the situation):

  • A contact name and number for further details;
  • The name, address and age of the child / adult concerned or name of the member of staff concerned;
  • An outline of the incident and where and when it took place;
  • Initial assessment of severity of situation;
  • Important dates e.g. inquest;
  • Any implications for or potential impact on other parts of the service;
  • Immediate actions.


4. Recording of 'Need To Know' Notification

The manager will ensure records of the incident, any resulting management emails or instructions, and subsequent developments are on the child’s electronic record. The ‘Need to Know’ Notification and any updated ‘Need to Know’ Notifications will be placed on the child’s electronic folder.


5. Circulation of 'Need To Know' Notification

The manager responsible for the case will send the ‘Need to Know’ notification to Notificationns@sunderland.gov.uk and Head of Children Looked After Services.

Consideration will be given to the broader circulation of the ‘Need to Know’ Notification by the Head of Children Looked After

Any of the recipients may circulate more widely on a ‘Need to Know’ basis only. The Head of Safeguarding and Senior Manager I.R.O. Service will circulate to the Sunderland Children’s Safeguarding Board (SCSB) as they consider appropriate.


6. Updating of the 'Need To Know' Notification

The manager may need to update the ‘Need to Know’ Notification, Section 8, very quickly after the initial brief, if the situation changes, and as necessary thereafter. Updates will be concise and draw attention only to significant or newly discovered facts or developments.

At a later stage the manager may be asked to provide a fuller analysis of the severity and impact of the incident including recommendations about future practice, including the lessons to be learnt from the incident.

In respect of Missing Children, a weekly updated ‘Need to Know’ Notification is required.


7. Management of 'Need To Know' Notification

The Head of Children Looked After Services will monitor all ‘Need to Know’ Notifications to ensure:

  • Regular and appropriate updates are received;
  • That the situation has been resolved satisfactorily.

The Head of Children Looked After Services or Director of Together for Children Sunderland, or any manager in receipt of the ‘Need to Know’ Notification will email any actions they require, in response to receiving the ‘Need to Know’ Notification, to appropriate staff and the Business Support Officer covering ‘ Need to Know’ Notifications. The receiving member of staff will place the email on the child’s electronic case record.

The manager will ensure that Sections 9 of the ‘Need to Know’ Notification is finalised when a situation has been resolved (in terms of Sunderland’s role). S/he will describe why the matter is considered resolved (e.g. missing child has returned) and any learning points, which can be picked up within the wider organisation. S/he will send to Notificationns@sunderland.gov.uk and the Head of Children Looked After Services.

The Head of Children Looked After Services will determine the need for a formal debriefing meeting, so that learning points can be identified following a serious incident.

The Head of Children Looked After Services will report to the Director of Together for Children Sunderland on ‘Need to Know’ Notifications – themes and trends on the 31 March each year.


Appendix 1: Need To Know / Notification Policy Form

Click here to view Appendix 1: Need To Know / Notification Policy Form.

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