Skip to main content
Cumbria County Council Logo


Top of page

Size: View this website with small text View this website with medium text View this website with large text View this website with high visibility

1.5.7 Notifications of Significant Events (External Notifications)

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter sets out which external bodies must be notified of specified events in relation to Looked After children placed in foster care or residential care.

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.

For internal notifications, see the Need to Know Policy and Procedure (Internal Notifications).

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Tell Ofsted about an Incident - Online Forms and Guidance - online form for adoption or fostering agencies, children's homes and residential family centres. Downloadable form for residential holiday schemes for disabled children.

What Ofsted means by a Serious Incident

This chapter was introduced to the manual in August 2020. It should be read in its entirety.


Contents

  1. Children Placed in Foster Care
  2. Children Placed in Children's Homes


1.Children Placed in Foster Care

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

Click here to view the Schedule 7 Events and Notifications table.

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

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 be printed and sent to Ofsted at:

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

Caption: Other Agencies
   
SERIOUS INCIDENT WHO TO NOTIFY
Death of a child.

Outside Agencies:

  • 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]
Referral pursuant to section 35 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended) of an individual working in the Home (Regulated activity providers: duty to refer) .

Outside Agencies:

  • 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

Outside Agencies:

  • 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.

Outside Agencies:

  • Ofsted;
  • The placing authority;
  • The local authority designated officer (LADO) for the area where the home is located;
  • Any other relevant person.
Any incident requiring police involvement occurs in relation to a child which the registered manager considers to be serious [2]

Outside Agencies:

Any other incident relating to a child which the registered manager considers to be serious [2]

Outside Agencies:

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

Outside Agencies:

  • 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.
In addition, the following notifications should be made (Ofsted do not need to be notified of accidents or illnesses in children’s homes):
Serious illness or serious accident sustained by a Child or employee. This includes serious or persistent self harming or attempted suicide.

Outside Agencies:

The Health and Safety Executive

*If a medical practitioner considers it to be notifiable under RIDDOR - see HSE - Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences.
Outbreak of any infectious disease which in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner is sufficiently serious to be so notified.

Outside Agencies:

The Health and Safety Executive

Forms to report incidents to the HSE are available online.
A child accommodated at the Home is absent or missing.

Placing authority (where relevant)

Police (in accordance with the local Protocol on Missing Children)

[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.
[2] 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.

Police involvement does not mean the Police have been informed of an incident; rather involvement implies that they are actively doing something concerning the incident, for example making an arrest or taking witness statements.

Incidents which are likely to be considered serious, and thus warrant notification to Ofsted as well as the placing authority, 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, such as where you consider the child to be at grave risk due to their age or vulnerability or where they have been 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).

A serious illness or accident would include matters such as fractured bones, when a child loses consciousness or situations that require admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours. Ofsted do not need to be notified about injuries such as sprains, strains or falls that have happened in the course of regular childhood experiences. This is the case even if the child is taken to the local accident and emergency department to have the injury checked out, unless it results in the child being admitted to hospital for more than 24 hours. If the injury has been sustained as part of a wider incident, for example a restraint or during a child running away, it may be appropriate to notify Ofsted. However Ofsted do not need to know if a child becomes ill and is not admitted to hospital.

Self-harm incidents that result in minor or superficial injuries do not need to be reported to Ofsted. However, homes should have in place a system for notifying responsible authorities of any serious concerns about the emotional or mental health of a child to the extent that a mental health assessment would be requested under the Mental Health Act 1983.

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.

Sharing Information with the Placing Authority

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.

Sending Updates to Ofsted

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.

There may be occasions when an inspector will ask for an update following a serious incident because this would be helpful in understanding what has happened and the action that you have taken. In these situations, the inspector is likely to ask for additional information directly by email rather than through a series of further notifications.

End