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Serious Incident Notification – The Process

Date: Thursday, 03rd Aug 2023 | Category: General

Working Together 2023 defines serious child safeguarding cases as those in which: abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected and the child has died or been seriously harmed.

Serious harm includes (but is not limited to) impairment of physical health and serious / long-term impairment of a child’s mental health or intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. Working Together 2023 advises that consideration be given to whether impairment is likely to be long-term, even if this is not immediately obvious. Even if a child recovers, serious harm may still have occurred. This is not an exhaustive list.

But what are the first steps taken?

A formal notification should be made to the National Panel within five working days if a child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority area (or outside of England while they are normally resident in the local authority area) and abuse or neglect is known or suspected.  This duty to notify serious incidents sits with local authorities. However, good practice suggests that the local authority should, wherever possible, consult with other Safeguarding Partners when deciding whether to notify.

Where an agency other than the local authority becomes aware of an incident that appears to meet the criteria for notification, they should discuss this with their local authority counterparts to reach an agreement on whether or not to notify.

SSCB have developed an ‘At a glance’ flowchart for everyone to understand the serious incident notification process.