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Children: Deaths

Volume 506: debated on Tuesday 2 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the change was in the number of notifications to Ofsted of deaths of (a) children and (b) children under the age of one year following a serious incident between 2008 and 2009; and what assessment he has made of the reasons for that change. (314044)

Data on the number of notifications of deaths of children following a serious incident are a matter for Ofsted. Ofsted has disclosed the information requested in reply to a request under Freedom of Information Act from the hon. Gentleman.

Serious incidents are notified to Ofsted straight away where a child has died and where abuse or neglect are known or suspected to be a factor in the death. But further investigation may indicate that the death was due to other causes.

Government Offices have been working closely with Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) to help ensure that procedures relating to child deaths are fully observed. A higher number of notifications could be due in part to an increased awareness of the procedures that need to be followed, including the notification to Ofsted of serious incidents.

Every single death of a child is an absolute tragedy, whether as a result of abuse or neglect or not. We must continue to do everything we can to protect children from those who seek to harm them. This is why we commissioned Lord Laming to carry out a report of safeguarding progress nationally. Lord Laming's report confirmed that robust legislative, structural and policy foundations are in place. We accepted and are implementing all 58 of his recommendations.

It is also the case that we are the first country in the world to implement a statutory multi-agency child death reviewing system to collect, analyse and act upon information about every child's death.