Notifiable Incidents Involving Children

Definitions of Notifiable Incidents 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); or
  • 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.

This definition is not exhaustive. In addition, even if a child recovers, this does not mean that serious harm cannot have occurred. The NYSCBs will ensure that its considerations on whether serious harm has occurred are informed by available research evidence.

Responsibilities of an organisation where a notifiable incident occurs

Where a serious childcare incident occurs which meets the definition of a ‘notifiable incident’ as outlined above the first step for any organisation is to ensure it takes appropriate action to ensure the immediate safety of the child or minimise the impact of any serious harm.

In all circumstances staff should consult with their Safeguarding Lead/Senior Manager. Safeguarding Lead/Senior Manager should contact the NYSCB Business Unit Manager to identify whether the criteria for notification has been met.

The organisation should have its own internal processes to ensure that:

Where a child has suffered serious harm, the organisation will make a referral to the Children and Families Service

The organisation’s Safeguarding Lead is informed of the incidents and agrees with a Senior Manager within the organisation that the criteria has been met

The Safeguarding Lead/Senior Manager within the organisation discusses and agrees with the NYSCB Business Unit Manager whether a notifiable incident has taken place

Where the child has died, the organisation notifies the Child Death Overview Panel of the death using NYSCB online form, and

Where the child has died unexpectedly, the organisation follows the Child Death Overview Process procedures which are available on the NYSCB website.Further information can be obtained from the link below:

North Yorkshire Child Death Review Process

Responsibilities of the Local Authority

In accordance with Working Together (2015), North Yorkshire County Council is required to report any incident that meets the criteria of a ‘notifiable incident’ to Ofsted and the NYSCB promptly, and within five working days of becoming aware that the incident has occurred. 

In accordance with local arrangements, the NYSCB Business Unit Manager will be notified in the first instance and the NYSCB Business Unit Manager will notify Ofsted of any incident that meets the above criteria on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council within the timescales outline above.

Responsibility of the NYSCB

If it is agreed that the criteria has been reached for notification of a serious childcare incident the Ofsted "Notification of Serious Childcare Incident" online form will be completed by the NYSCB Business Unit Manager. This form is available from the link below:

https://ofstedonline.ofsted.gov.uk/outreach/Ofsted_Serious_Notification.ofml

In accordance with the NYSCB Learning and Improvement Framework the Case Review Subgroup will identify whether the case meets the threshold for a Serious Case Review or whether another form of learning review would be useful.  This decision must be ratified with by the Chair of the NYSCB and the NYSCB will consult with the National Panel of Independent Experts.  Further information can be obtained from the link below:

http://safeguardingchildren.co.uk/admin/uploads/practice-guidance/learning-improvement-framework.pdf

For the avoidance of doubt, if an incident meets the criteria for a Serious Case Review (see below) then it will also meet the criteria for a notifiable incident. There will, however, be notifiable incidents that do not proceed through to Serious Case Review.  If a decision is made to conduct a serious case review the NYSCB Business Unit Manager will inform Ofsted a review will take place.

The NYSCB Business Unit Manager will consider all notification of serious childcare incidents. If, following consideration it is identified that it is not appropriate to conduct a review and the incident does not relate to the unexpected death of a child, the NYSCB will close the referral as no further action.

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