The statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (updated July 2018) states that where a local authority in England knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected, the local authority must notify the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel if:
- the child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority’s area; or
- while normally resident in the local authority’s area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England.
The local authority must also notify the Secretary of State for Education and Ofsted where a looked after child has died, whether or not abuse or neglect is known or suspected.
Prior to 2018, local authorities were required to make notifications to Ofsted who published data in their Experimental Statistics release 'Serious incident notification from local authority children's services'.
In this release, the number of serious incident notifications for 2014-15 to 2018-19 is from the Ofsted published data and for 2018-19 onwards is produced by the Department for Education.
These statistics are experimental statistics. Experimental statistics are defined in the Code of Practice for Statistics as “A subset of newly developed or innovative official statistics undergoing evaluation. Experimental statistics are developed under the guidance of the Head of Profession for Statistics and are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in the assessment of their suitability and quality at an early stage.” For more information on experimental statistics, please visit the ONS website.
All data in this release is based on single notifiable incidents, which can relate to one or more children. When incidents involve multiple children, the characteristic information is based on one child only (either the first child listed on the notification or the child whom the harm relates to). The characteristic information is identified as at the point of notification.
The data shows the number of incidents reported in the period, rather than the number of incidents that occurred in the period. We know that in some cases, there is a delay in the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel being notified.