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6.2 Notification to the RLSCB of Serious Safeguarding Incidents

RELATED CHAPTER

Learning and Improvement Framework Procedure

RELATED GUIDANCE

Working Together 2015 – Notifiable Incidents

This chapter was added to the manual in December 2016.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose of Notifications to the RLSCB
  3. Types of Reviews Conducted by the RLSCB
  4. When to Notify the RLSCB of a Serious Safeguarding Incident
  5. Notification of Serious Safeguarding Incidents to the RLSCB

    Appendix A: Examples of Serious Safeguarding Incidents

    Appendix B: Serious Safeguarding Incident – Template Notification to the RLSCB


1. Introduction

This protocol sets out the circumstances and process for notifying the Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board (RLSCB) of a serious safeguarding incident relating to a child.

For the purposes of this protocol:

  • A child is taken to mean all children and young people up to their 18th birthday;
  • The term ‘incident’ refers to a specific event or a set of circumstances, which may have taken place over time;
  • “RLSCB” means the RLSCB Business Unit and the Independent Chair who will receive the notifications and, along with relevant stakeholder and Sub Groups, decide on what action, if any, to take and which other stakeholders need to be notified.

The definition of a serious safeguarding ‘incident’ includes those classed as a ‘near miss’; this is where an event or circumstance that was prevented or narrowly avoided serious injury or harm to a child, which had it occurred, could have had a detrimental impact on the safety or wellbeing of the child. There will also be serious safeguarding incidents where the child and family may only have limited or single agency involvement but the incident is of such seriousness or significance that it would be appropriate to notify the RLSCB.


2. Purpose of Notifications to the RLSCB

The purpose of these notifications will be to enable the RLSCB and its Sub Groups to consider and decide what response or action is appropriate and proportionate, according to the scale and complexity of the issues, and therefore to fulfil its statutory responsibilities under the following:

  • Regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards Regulations 2006 sets out that the functions of the RLSCB, in relation to the above objectives under Section 14 of the Children Act 2004, includes the following:
  • Professionals and organisations protecting children need to reflect on the quality of their services and learn from their own practice and that of others. Good practice should be shared so that there is a growing understanding of what works well. Conversely, when things go wrong there needs to be a rigorous, objective analysis of what happened and why, so that important lessons can be learnt and services improved to reduce the risk of future harm to children (Ch 4 para 1).

    Each local framework should support the work of the RLSCB and their partners so that:
    • Reviews are conducted regularly, not only on cases which meet statutory criteria, but also on other cases which can provide useful insights into the way organisations are working together to safeguard and protect the welfare of children and that this learning is actively shared with relevant agencies;
    • Reviews look at what happened in a case, and why, and what action will be taken to learn from the review findings;
    • Action results in lasting improvements to services which safeguard and promote the welfare of children and help protect them from harm; and
    • There is transparency about the issues arising from individual cases and the actions which organisations are taking in response to them, including sharing the final reports of Serious Case Reviews with the public (Ch 4 para 4).

The local framework should cover the full range of reviews and audits which are aimed at driving improvements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Some of these reviews (i.e. SCRs and child death reviews) are required under legislation. It is important that LSCB s understand the criteria for determining whether a statutory review is required and always conduct those reviews when necessary.

LSCBs should also conduct reviews of cases which do not meet the criteria for an SCR, but which can provide valuable lessons about how organisations are working together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Although not required by statute these reviews are important for highlighting good practice as well as identifying improvements which need to be made to local services. Such reviews may be conducted either by a single organisation or by a number of organisations working together. LSCB s should follow the principles in this guidance when conducting these reviews (Ch 4 para 5).


3. Types of Reviews Conducted by the RLSCB

The different types of review include:

  • Serious Case Review for every case where abuse or neglect is known or suspected and either:
    • A child dies; or
    • A child is seriously harmed and there are concerns about how organisations or professionals worked together to safeguard the child;
  • Child death review (WT chapter 5): a review of all child deaths – for more information see Child Death Overview Panel Protocol;
  • Review of a child protection incident which falls below the threshold for an SCR;
  • Review or audit of practice in one or more agencies (Ch 4 para 8).


4. When to Notify the RLSCB of a Serious Safeguarding Incident

The local authority should report any incident that meets the below criteria to Ofsted and the RLSCB promptly, and within five working days of becoming aware that the incident has occurred. The incident should be notified using the template in Appendix B: Serious Safeguarding Incident – Template Notification to the RLSCB.

A notifiable incident to the RLSCB 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);
  • An event or circumstance where a child was prevented from or narrowly avoided death or serious injury as a result of abuse or neglect;
  • Any serious safeguarding incident that is notified to any external regulator or commissioner of services.

“Seriously harmed”* in the above context 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. Considerations on whether serious harm has occurred should be informed by available research evidence.

Examples are illustrated at Appendix A: Examples of Serious Safeguarding Incidents.


5. Notification of Serious Safeguarding Incidents to the RLSCB

A written notification should be made to the RLSCB as soon as reasonably possible but not later than 5 working days of when the incident occurred or concerns were identified. In some circumstances an initial verbal or email report or briefing would be appropriate for the RLSCB Business Unit / Independent Chair and this would particularly be applicable when there is an immediate requirement to amend safeguarding procedures or arrangements; and or the incident / case is likely to progress to a SCR; and or feature in the media.

Notifications to the RLSCB should be submitted on the form at Appendix B and sent securely to CYPS-SafeguardingBoard@rotherham.gcsx.gov.uk


Appendix A: Examples of Serious Safeguarding Incidents

Safeguarding Incident Child Death Other Factors

A child sustains a potentially life threatening injury or serious and permanent impairment of health (physical and / or mental) or development through abuse or neglect.

A child has been subjected to serious sexual organised or complex abuse.

Child at risk of significant harm is abducted / or the family go missing and there are serious concerns for their welfare.

A child was seriously abused or neglected while being Looked After by the local authority (LA).

A child has been seriously abused or neglected in an institutional setting (e.g. school, nursery, children or family centre, Youth Offending Institution, Secure Training Centre, children's home or Armed Services Training establishment).

When a child dies and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor in the death.

 

When a child dies by suicide.

 

When a child dies in custody, either in police custody, on remand or following sentence, or a child dies who was detained under the Mental Health Act 2005.

 

A child dies while absent from, or having run away from home or other care setting.

There are indications that the circumstances of the case may have national implications for systems or processes or there are significant public interest or community issues.

The case suggests that RLSCB may need to change its local protocols or procedures, or that procedures are not being adequately promulgated, understood or acted on.

The impact upon the local community is significant, e.g. honour killing, gang incident.

A parent has been murdered and a domestic homicide review is being initiated.

A child has perpetrated a particularly serious offence, either against another child or an adult.

The case indicates that there may be failings in one or more aspects of the local operation of formal safeguarding children procedures, which go beyond the handling of the specific case.

When an external regulator or commissioning organisation has been notified.

Where there is significant media interest.


Appendix B: Serious Safeguarding Incident – Template Notification to the RLSCB

Click here to view Appendix B: Serious Safeguarding Incident – Template Notification to the RLSCB

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