Serious incident notifications up by a fifth since start of the pandemic

Between April 2020 and April 2021 there were 536 serious incident notifications, 87 more than the previous year.

28/07/21

Serious incident notifications up by a fifth since start of the pandemic

Serious incident notifications were up by a fifth since the start of the pandemic, new Government data has shown.

The largest increase in the total number of serious incident notifications (60) occurred during the first half of the year compared with 27 in the second half of the year.

The rise in 2020-21 follows a fall of 49 notifications between 2018-19 and 2019-20 – from 498 to 448 notifications. The longer-term trend shows that notifications have fluctuated between 2014 and 2021, but overall there has been an increase of 151 notifications between those time-periods.

The number of notifications relating to child deaths also increased by 35 to 223, making up 42% of all notifications. Notifications relating to serious harm increased by 31 to 284 in 2020-21.

The highest proportion of serious incident notifications continues to be for children under one year old. 191 notifications related to children under the age of one in 2020-21, equating to 36% of all notifications.

Most serious incident notifications continued to relate to children living at home. The proportion of notifications relating to children living at home increased from 66% in the first half of 2020-21 to 75% in the second half.

The proportion of incidents reported as relating to children with child protection plans increased slightly but remained lower than in 2018-19. The proportion of incidents relating to children with child protection plans increased in the latter part of 2020-21, rising from 8% in April to September to 13% in October to March. Over four in five notifications were reported as relating to children who were known to other agencies.

Serious incident notifications are triggered if a child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority’s area, or if a child dies or is seriously harmed outside England while normally resident in the local authority’s area, where the local authority in England knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected.

The local authority must also notify the Secretary of State for Education and Ofsted where a looked after child has died and whether abuse or neglect is known or suspected.

The data released shows the number of incidents reported in the period, rather than the number of incidents that occurred in the period.

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