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6.2.7 Notifications of Significant Events

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter sets out who must be notified of specified events in relation to Looked After children placed with Fostering Agencies or in Children's Homes.

Please note – when a Looked After Child dies, any notifications required under this chapter are in addition to the requirement for local authorities to notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (using the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System) within 5 days of becoming aware that a child has died. See: Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child in Need) Procedure.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Tell Ofsted about an Incident - Online Forms and Guidance

AMENDMENT

This chapter was revised and updated throughout in September 2019.


Contents

  1. Children Placed with Fostering Agencies
  2. Children Placed in Children's Homes
  3. Accidents or Illness - Notifying the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)


1. Children Placed with Fostering Agencies

Regulation 36 and Schedule 7 of the Fostering Services Regulations 2011 set out the arrangements for notifications in relation to significant events.

Click here to view Schedule 7 Events and Notifications table.

Independent Fostering Agencies should use the online notification form to notify Ofsted of a specified event.

Fostering Agencies should have a system in place to ensure notifications are made within 24 hours and that a written record of actions and outcomes is kept.

Whenever there is a serious injury or safeguarding concern, the Fostering Agency should notify the placing / responsible authority and, where the placement is located in a different local authority to the placing / responsible authority, the area authority should also be notified, (particularly where there may be a need for ensuring appropriate enquiries are made under Section 47 Children Act 1989).

Note also that the National Minimum Standards (NMS 29.3) requires notification to the responsible authorities, (the Responsible Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group), of any serious concerns about the emotional or mental health of a child, such that a mental health assessment would be requested under the Mental Health Act 1983.


2. Children Placed in Children's Homes

See: Tell Ofsted about an Incident - Online Forms and Guidance.

Regulation 40 (safeguarding notifications) of the Children's Homes (England) Regulations 2015 sets out the arrangements for notifications by the registered person in relation to serious events which should be shared with Ofsted.

Notifications to Ofsted should be made by using the online notification form.

In urgent situations, Ofsted can be contacted by telephone (0300 123 1231). You will need your URN (Unique Reference Number) and full postal address when completing a form. If you are not able to submit the form online, it can printed and sent to Ofsted at:

Notifications
Ofsted Business Unit
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
Manchester
M1 2WD

SERIOUS INCIDENT WHO TO NOTIFY
Death of a child.

Ofsted;

The placing authority;

The Secretary of State for Children (if the Secretary of State is not the placing authority);

The local authority in whose area the children's home is located (if different to the placing authority);

The Clinical Commissioning Group for the area in which the home is located;

If the child was accommodated in a secure children's home, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales ("the PPO"); and

Any other relevant person.[1]
There is a referral of a person working in the home pursuant to Section 35 (Regulated activity providers: duty to refer) of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

Ofsted;

The placing authority; and

Any other relevant person.

Child is involved in, or subject to, or suspected of being involved in or subject to sexual exploitation.

Ofsted;

The placing authority;

The local authority in whose area the children's home is located (if different to the placing authority) which will have responsibility for ensuring appropriate enquiries are made under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989;

The Police;

Any other relevant person.

Any allegation of abuse against the home or a person working there.

Ofsted;

The placing authority;

The local authority designated officer (LADO) for the area where the home is located;

Any other relevant person.

Instigation or conclusion of any Child Protection Enquiry involving a child resident in the children's home.

Ofsted;

The placing authority;

The local authority in whose area the children's home is located (if different to the placing authority) which will have responsibility for ensuring appropriate enquiries are made under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989;

Any other relevant person.

[1] "relevant person" means any person, body or organisation that the registered person considers to be relevant in relation to the care, protection or safeguarding of a particular child in all the circumstances.

Additional Notifications

The Children’s Homes Regulations also require notifications to be made to Ofsted, the placing authority and other relevant persons in the following circumstances:

  1. An incident requiring Police involvement occurs in relation to a child which the registered person considers to be serious; and
  2. There is any other incident relating to a child which the registered person considers to be serious.

Deciding whether an incident is ‘serious’ and warrants notification to Ofsted will depend on many factors, including the age of the child, frequency of the incident, any injuries sustained, any additional needs the child has and the context of the home, In some instances the cumulative effect of frequent incidents may make a notification appropriate even if in isolation each event would not warrant this.

Incidents which are likely to be considered serious include:

  • A child being the victim or perpetrator of a serious assault;
  • A serious incident of self harm;
  • Serious concerns over a child’s missing behaviour, particularly where the child is considered to be at grave risk due to their age or vulnerability or where they have missing for a considerable period of time and their whereabouts are unknown. (Please note - Ofsted do not need to routinely know about children going missing, even if the Police are called out to help look for them. However, this information should always be shared with the placing authority).

This is not an exhaustive list, and each case must be assessed individually taking into account any patterns of behaviour or unusual behaviour that may indicate an increased risk to the child.

Regardless of whether Ofsted are notified, the home must always share any concerns about the child or their behaviour with the placing authority, in order to safeguard the child and promote their welfare.

Ofsted do not need to be sent updates in relation to any notifications made, though it may be appropriate to share updates with the placing authority and other relevant persons.


3. Accidents or Illness - Notifying the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Ofsted do not need to be notified of accidents or illnesses in Children's Homes.

Where a child or member of staff is involved in a serious accident in the home, the HSE should be informed. The outbreak of any infectious disease (which in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner is sufficiently serious to be so notified) should also be reported.

See HSE website for forms to report incidents to the HSE.

For more information, see HSE – Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences.

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