Incidents Guidance


  1. Definition of Incident
  2. Notifications
  3. Incident Recording
  4. Manager/Supervisor Responsibilities

1. Definition of Incident

The following are defined as incidents, but this list is not exhaustive. Any similar occurrences can be defined as an incident by a manager, and recorded as such:

2. Notifications

If an incident occurs, the child's social worker must also be informed within 1 working day and an agreement reached with the social worker about whether it is necessary to inform the child's parent(s). If so, it should be agreed who should undertake this task.

The social worker and team managers will ensure that all significant events that are potentially life threatening are immediately notified, via the full line management route, to the Assistant Director. This should be done verbally in the first instance and followed up in writing as soon as possible.

In some circumstances, other agencies must be notified.

3. Incident Recording

3.1 Which records must be completed?

The following records should be completed after an incident:

In Residential Homes: Note the incident in the Restraints Log (if appropriate), the home's Daily Log and relevant child's Daily Record, record the incident in detail on form CR16.

Child's social worker: Note the incident on Care Director and record it in detail in an Incident Record.

3.2 When to complete the records

Unless stated differently in procedures contained in this manual, records pertaining to incidents must be completed within 24 hours.

However, it is advisable that staff/carers do not complete records immediately after an incident, but wait until they can calmly recollect what happened.

If an incident leads to, or is followed by, the absence of the person responsible for completing records due to leave, sickness, rest days, it is normally reasonable to expect that person to complete the records before leaving. If exceptional circumstances, such as hospitalisation, prevent this from happening, the manager/fostering social worker must arrange for the records to be completed as accurately as possible in another way.

Before completing records, it may be helpful to talk to others involved to help recollect events, but staff/carers should avoid having suggestions put to them that are inaccurate or inconsistent with what they did or observed.

3.3 Who should complete the records?

Each member of staff involved should complete their own record of the incident. This should be done independently.

3.4 Guidance on completion of incident records

  1. Write down what happened in chronological order, preferably stating the time each event occurred;
  2. Don't express opinions and don't make assumptions about what happened;
  3. If you are writing the report on behalf of others make sure you check and report their versions, not what you think they said or did;
  4. Differences of opinion, recollection or knowledge must be accurately recorded;
  5. Avoid using jargon or professional terms unless you are confident that readers will understand them;
  6. Don't use generalisations such as "aggressive", "verbal" or "offensive"; use plain English, write down exactly what was said or done, and by whom;
  7. Always use full names. If the common name for a person is an alias or nickname, always put the persons full name in brackets the first time you use the alias;
  8. Always indicate, in brackets, the status of the person named (e.g. foster carer, residential social worker, child);
  9. State clearly what diversionary tactics or strategies were used, and by whom; also state the impact or changes the tactics brought about;
  10. If Physical Intervention was used, state the name of the technique used; if the technique has no name, describe the intervention rather than saying "He was held or restrained"; A Physical Intervention Record should be completed;
  11. Also state who used the intervention, the duration it was used and what was said and done during the intervention until the child was released;
  12. If more than one intervention was used, state the order they were used in-and why it was necessary to escalate or reduce the intervention;
  13. If there are particular techniques used give their technical names and say in what order they were used;
  14. The child should be asked to contribute to the report(s); as part of this process, the child should also be offered an interview. If requested, if there is a significant difference between staff and child versions or a complaint is made, an independent person must offer support to the child and obtain his/her views/comments;
  15. Complete all sections. Don't leave sections blank or any significant spaces. If you have nothing to report in a section, either draw a line through it, put N/A or (for example, in the section on injuries) "No Injuries". Alternatively strike a line through the space;
  16. Always sign and date the record and make sure other staff/carers do the same before you pass it to the manager.

If you have any concerns about your own or other peoples actions or decisions you must discuss them with the manager as soon after the incident as possible. If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about returning to work also talk to a manager.

4. Manager/Supervisor Responsibilities

In relation to foster carers, in this section, the manager means the foster carers' supervising social worker.

4.1 Prevention of Incidents

  1. Managers must ensure staff/carers are familiar with relevant procedures; using creative and interesting methods to bring procedures to their attention, discussing them in supervision sessions and meetings, undertaking role plays etc.;
  2. If procedures appear to require updating or amendment, including the way in which incidents are recorded, the matter must be followed up with line management;
  3. Staff/carers are required to do all they can to contact managers if they anticipate an incident or immediately afterwards if they did not. If, for whatever reason, managers are not likely to be available, they should ensure suitable contact arrangements are in place, that a colleague has been identified to provide cover or that staff/carers understand the levels of their delegated authority;
  4. If managers anticipate that an incident may occur, they must plan to reduce or prevent the risks, and they must inform staff/carers;
  5. If staff/carers inform managers that they suspect or anticipate an incident, they must be taken seriously and provided what appropriate levels of support, guidance and direction to manage situations safely;
  6. If managers anticipate a serious incident that may require intervention by the Police or other emergency services, consult or inform those agencies;
  7. Also consult relevant social workers;
  8. Keep accurate records of your contacts, conversations, decisions and actions.

4.2 Immediate Management Responsibilities

When the manager is informed that an incident has occurred, the following tasks should be undertaken immediately:

  • Cooperate with Police/emergency services if contacted; or consider whether the Police or other emergency services should be contacted;
  • Check if anyone has been injured; ensure first aid or hospital treatment as appropriate;
  • If Physical Intervention has been used, whether or not the child was injured, s/he must be given the opportunity to see a registered nurse or medical practitioner-and the outcome recorded;
  • Check whether there is any damage; and that it is made safe or repaired;
  • Listen to everyone involved, note what they have said, provide support and advice if necessary; but don't make judgments or take sides;
  • Ensure that the child is given adequate opportunity to contribute to the reports, consider whether the child would benefit from discussing the incident with an advocate;
  • Establish whether people need to be separated, for example if there are complaints; and take what action is necessary;
  • Ensure those involved are recording their recollections in detail in an Incident Record. If any conflicts between those involved or potential complaints, ask each person to write a separate record. These records should normally be completed and passed to the manager within 24 hours of the incident. See Section 3.2, When to Complete the Records;
  • If there are complaints or any potential child protection issues, follow them up in line with appropriate complaints or West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding Board Procedures;
  • Arrange for social worker, parents and others, including Designated Managers and others to be notified.