4.1.5 Death of or Serious Injury in relation to a Child in Need (including a Looked After Child)

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter sets out the steps to be followed in addition to the procedures contained in the West Midlands Safeguarding Children Procedures - Learning and Improvement Framework Procedure.

AMENDMENT

In September 2017, details were changed as Ofsted now need to be notified using the Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents.


Contents

  1. Death of or Serious Injury to a Looked After Child 
  2. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child in the Community


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

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

  1. The child’s social worker or any other member of staff who first learns about the child’s death or serious injury will obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death or serious injury and immediately inform his or her team manager;
  2. Out of Hours: If the death or serious injury takes place outside of office hours, the Emergency Response Team should be contacted. The team will arrange for the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury of a Child in Need) to be contacted. In discussion with the Designated Manager, the ERT social worker should decide on arrangements for notifying parents or person with Parental Responsibility;
  3. During office hours: The manager will:
    1. Immediately inform the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury of a Child in Need) by telephone and then confirm details in writing as soon as possible afterwards;
    2. Advise and obtain advice as required by the Legal Services initially by telephone, then confirm details in writing;
    3. Contact the Insurance Section of the Finance Department, initially by telephone and then in writing; and
    4. Discuss with the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury of a Child in Need) responsibility for contacting the Press Office if the nature of the death or serious injury is such that it might warrant public attention;
    5. Inform parents in person wherever possible, following any advice given by the Legal and/or Insurance section in the event of any liability matter. If the child’s sibling(s) is looked after, arrangements should be made to inform the child(ren) about the sibling’s death;
    6. In the event of the 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) and agree any necessary expenditure including reasonable travel expenses to assist the family in attending the funeral where it appears there is financial;
    7. If the child is in hospital, agree with the hospital the arrangements for the parent(s) and carer(s) to visit the child in hospital, communicate this to the parent(s) and carer(s) and agree any necessary expenditure including reasonable travel expenses to assist the family in visiting the child where it appears there is financial hardship.
  4. The Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury of a Child in Need) will, in addition to the requirements of the Child Death Review process:
    1. Inform the Chief Officer, who will decide whether to notify members;
    2. Agree with the Chief Officer a press interest strategy;
    3. Consider the appropriate manager to conduct a Management Review (For Guidance in relation to Management Reviews, see Incidents Guidance);
    4. Contact the Manager of the Review and Child Protection Unit and Chair of the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board in order to consider whether a Serious Case Review is required; and
    5. Inform Ofsted using the Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents.
  5. The child’s social worker or nominated member of staff will be required to prepare a report that the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury of a Child in Need) will arrange to send the report to Ofsted the Secretary of State which 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, the Deputy Director or Director of Children’s Services should telephone Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 and then complete the form;
  1. The Social worker should notify the Health Trust, Education Service and any other relevant authority or party with an interest in the child’s circumstances;
  2. In the case of a child death, the social worker should also consider the need for bereavement counselling for those affected. If the death occurred in relation to a child with palliative care needs, the Palliative Care Team can provide bereavement counselling.


2. Death of or Serious Injury Regarding a Child In Need in the Community

Where information comes to notice of the death of or serious injury to a Child in Need, in the community, the following tasks are required.

  1. The child's social worker or any other member of staff who first learns about the child's death or serious injury will obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the death or injury, and the child's current condition and immediately inform the team manager or Emergency Response Team;

  2. The social worker’s line manager will: 
    1. Immediately inform the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury of a Child in Need) by telephone and then confirm details in writing as soon as possible afterwards;
    2. Discuss with the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury of a Child in Need) responsibility for contacting the Press Office if the nature of the death or serious injury is such that it might warrant public attention.
  3. The Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury of a Child in Need) will:
    1. Inform the Director of Children's Services and consider whether to notify elected members;
    2. Consider the appropriate manager to conduct a Management Review (For Guidance in relation to Management Reviews, see Incidents Guidance);
    3. Contact the Manager of the Review and Child Protection Unit and Chair of the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board in order to consider whether a Serious Case Review is required;
    4. Agree with the Chief Officer a press interest strategy;
    5. Consider whether it is appropriate to inform Ofsted using the Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents.
  4. The social worker should notify the Health Authority, Education Department and any other relevant authority or party with an interest in the child’s circumstances.

End