Ofsted - Notifiable Incidents - (Children) Procedure

This chapter was added to the manual in September 2017.

1. Introduction

In accordance with Working Together to Safeguard Children, The Local Authority is required to notify Ofsted when they are aware of any serious childcare incident that must be notified to the Secretary of State, within 5 working days of being notified that the incident occurred.

In Walsall all notifications are made by the Head of Safeguarding who must be notified on the day the incident is reported that an incident has occurred where notification of a significant event should be considered.

2. Definition of Notifiable Incident and Seriously Harmed

A notifiable incident is an incident involving the care of a child which meets any of the following criteria:

  • A child has died (including cases of suspected suicide), and abuse or neglect is known or suspected;
  • A child has been "seriously harmed" and abuse or neglect is known or suspected;
  • A looked after child has died (including cases where abuse or neglect is not known or suspected);
  • A child in a regulated setting or service has died (including cases where abuse or neglect is not known or suspected).

"Seriously harmed" in the context of the above includes, but is not limited to, cases where the child has sustained, as a result of abuse or neglect, any or all of the following:

  • A potentially life-threatening injury;
  • Serious and/or likely long-term impairment of physical or mental health or physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development;
  • Been the victim of a serious crime e.g. rape.

This definition is not exhaustive. Even if a child recovers, this does not mean that serious harm cannot have occurred.

3. Responsibilities of the Social Worker when a Notifiable Incident Occurs

Where a serious childcare incident occurs which meets the definition of a 'notifiable incident' as outlined above, the first step is to ensure that appropriate action is taken to ensure the immediate safety of the child or minimise the impact of any serious harm.

In all circumstances the staff member being made aware of the incident, should consult with their Line Manager immediately. They will ensure that this is escalated to the Head of Safeguarding (or nominated cover) for consideration and an immediate response.

In all circumstances, the Assistant Director Safeguarding Services must be notified on the same day

They Head of Safeguarding (or nominated cover) will liaise with the WSCP Business Unit to ensure consistency in referrals. 

The referral to Ofsted must be made within a maximum of 5 days of the incident.

4. Procedure

The Head of Safeguarding is responsible for making the electronic referral, having clarified that the criteria are met and appropriate consultation has taken place, as outlined above.

The relevant Group Manager will ensure that any follow up correspondence or action is notified to the Head of Safeguarding.

The Head of Safeguarding will inform the WSCP Business Unit who will record and track each case. The WSCP will ensure that all aspects relating to the WSCP responsibility is maintained.

Where the case also involves the death of a child, the corresponding process will be followed for CDOP and managed by the WSCP.

Where the case may potentially require consideration of a SCR, the relevant process will be followed and the process tracked by the WSCP.