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Haringey Children's Services Procedures Manual

Death or Serious Injury to a Child Cross Service Agreement Local Authority

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter outlines the steps to be taken in the event of the suspicious death of/serious injury to a child living in the community or the death of/serious injury to any child in care (Looked After).

These steps are in addition to the carrying out of the Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures in relation to the need to hold a Serious Case Review and the work of the Child Death Overview Panel.

This chapter uses the expression Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child). This person should also be notified in circumstances where there is a serious injury to a child.

RELEVANT LOCAL GUIDANCE

Child Deaths (Haringey LSCB website)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was fully reviewed and amended in October 2016 to reflect Haringey processes and procedures.

Contents

  1. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child in the Community
  2. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child in Care
  3. Needs of Social Worker / Team / Manager / Carer

1. Death of or Serious Injury of a Child in the Community

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

1.1

The child's social worker or, if unallocated, the duty worker receiving the information will:

  1. Immediately inform his or her line manager;
  2. Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury and pass this to the line manager including the details of the social care team involved and their head of service;
  3. If the notification comes from a service in the council that is not a social care service e.g. schools, transport, the service who receives the information should immediately record as much possible about the incident, and pass this in writing to the SPA (see The Guide to the Single Point of Access for services that protect and promote the welfare of children in Haringey).

1.2

The line manager will immediately inform the Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child) by telephone and provide follow up information in writing as soon as possible afterwards.

1.3

The Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child) will:

  1. Inform the Director of Children's Services, who will notify members as necessary;

  2. Inform the deputy chief executive and ADs and agree a lead manager for the case if necessary;

  3. Ascertain as full details as possible from the Police and any other source;
  4. Request his or her administrative staff to check Children's Services records on the child and family and print out any information held;
  5. Collect any files held on the child and family and secure them at his or her office;
  6. Arrange through his or her administrative staff to inform the other relevant agencies including the designated paediatrician and nurse about the death/serious injury and remind them to secure their files;
  7. Arrange to consider the circumstances of the death/serious injury, in accordance with the Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review or referral to the Child Death Overview Panel;
  8. The DCS will agree who will inform the Secretary of State for Education; and Ofsted using the Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents;
  9. Following notification to health services there may be a rapid response meeting called by the designated doctor. Any held information presented to this meeting should be:
    1. Chronology of involvement from relevant services. If the child has a disability or SEN, or other multiagency involvement relevant reports and care plans must be sought from the professionals involved with the child;
    2. Exact description of incident with outline of the sequence of events.

1.4

The report to the Secretary of State will include the following information and must be approved by the Designated Manager (Death of a Child) Head of Safeguarding before it is sent:

  • Local authority;
  • Child's name;
  • Parents' names;
  • Date of birth;
  • Date of death/serious injury;
  • Child's legal status;
  • Child's ethnicity, religion, language, disability;
  • Cause of death as on Death Certificate;
  • Dates if any when child was subject to a Child Protection Plan;
  • The date and findings of the Post Mortem, Inquest and any criminal proceedings initiated. It may be necessary to notify these details at a later date;
  • Brief details of the case, including if the child had pre existing health needs or disabilities;
  • Local authority duties in respect of the child;
  • Policy and practice issues raised and intended local authority action (to follow later if necessary).

1.5

Where a Serious Case Review is to be held, this must be conducted in accordance with Chapter 4: Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 and the Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures.

1.6

If a decision is made not to hold a Serious Case Review by the Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children Board, this will be notified to Ofsted and the National Panel of Independent Experts on Serious Case Reviews in accordance with the Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures.

If a serious case review is not held, the incident should be reported to the health and safety manager who will assist the lead officer in any subsequent investigations and communication of lessons learnt or follow up actions.

2. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child in Care

Where information comes to notice of the death of or serious injury to a child in care, the following tasks are required.

2.1

The child's social worker will:

  1. Immediately inform his or her line manager;

  2. Discuss the liaison arrangements with the Police;

  3. Ensure the parent(s) have been notified immediately and in person, if possible;

  4. In the event of a serious injury to the child, arrange with the parent(s) to visit the child in hospital;

  5. Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury and pass this to their line manager; and

  6. Discuss with the line manager any necessary expenditure including reasonable travel expenses to assist the family in attending the funeral or visiting the child in hospital where it appears there is financial hardship;

  7. Where the child was in a long term foster placement, discuss with the line manager any arrangements for the child's funeral taking into account the parent's wishes.

2.2

The responsible Head of Service will:

  1. Advise Legal Services initially by telephone, then confirm details in writing; and

  2. Contact the Insurance Section of the Finance Department, initially by telephone and then in writing.

2.3

The Designated Manager (Death or Serious Injury to a Child) will:

  1. Inform the Director of Children's Services, who will come to a decision about whether to notify Members;

  2. Arrange, in consultation with the Safeguarding Manager, referral to the serious case review panel of the LSCB, inform Ofsted using the Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents.

2.4

The report to the Department for Education will include the following information in the order shown:

  • Local authority;

  • Child's name;

  • Parents' names and support being offered to them;

  • Date of birth;

  • Date of death/serious injury;

  • Child's legal status;

  • Child's ethnicity, religion, language, disability;

  • Cause of death as on Death Certificate;

  • Dates if any when child was subject to a Child Protection Plan;

  • The date and findings of the Post Mortem, Inquest and any criminal proceedings initiated. It may be necessary to notify these details at a later date;

  • Brief details of the case, including type of placement;

  • Local authority duties in respect of the child and the intention of the local authority to hold an independent management review;

  • Policy and practice issues raised.

In the event of a Serious Case being required, the steps outlined in Section 3, Needs of Social Worker/Team/Manager/Carer should be followed.

3. Needs of Social Worker / Team / Managers / Carer

During the implementation of this procedure consideration must be given to the needs of those staff and carers involved in the case.

The impact of a child death on social worker/team/manager/carer needs to be addressed in terms of:

  • The need for counselling for those involved;
  • The manner in which such support is offered;
  • The provision of access to legal and professional advice about the ongoing conduct of the case;
  • The provision of a clear explanation of the process of a Serious Case Review;
  • Support for staff in the event of Police investigation/interviews;
  • The need to inform and keep informed any relevant Trades Unions;
  • The need for team debriefing whilst observing confidentiality. This must be discussed with the Service Manager.