The death of a child is always tragic. Talking and thinking about a child’s death is a particularly sensitive and painful subject. However, it’s important all child deaths are carefully reviewed so that we learn from them to try and prevent future deaths, and ensure families receive the support they need.
To report a child death, for a child who is resident in Birmingham and Solihull, visit www.ecdop.co.uk/birmingham/live/public
What the law requires
From 1 April 2008, the Government introduced a law which requires each local authority to review the death of every child (up to the age of 18). This is because the Government believes that it may help other children and families in the future. This is done in two ways:
A joint agency response to unexpected deaths:
A group of key professionals come together for the purpose of enquiring into a sudden and unexpected death of a child. This may mean a visit, within the first few days, to where the child died, by a police officer and or a health professional. Most importantly, the joint agency response will seek to ensure that support offered to the family is co-ordinated through the lead nurse for child deaths.
The Birmingham and Solihull Multi-Agency Guidance for Joint Agency Response to Sudden and Unexpected Death in Infancy/Childhood can be found here.
Review of all child deaths (under 18 years):
The Child Death Overview Panel of Birmingham and Solihull CCG and our partners has a permanent core membership of key organisations and is chaired by a public health professional. The panel is accountable to both CEO of the local authorities and the accountable officer of the CCG.
The panel meets monthly to complete a review of every child death based on information provided by those professionals who were involved in the care of the child, both before and immediately after the death. The panel reviews the appropriateness of the professional’s response, relevant environmental, social, health and cultural aspects of each death to ensure a thorough consideration of how such deaths might be prevented in the future. Identified patterns and trends are included in the annual report and its child death review partners, an executive summary of which is placed on the Birmingham and Solihull CCG website.
What is the purpose of a review?
The Child Death Overview Panel will consider the circumstances of the child’s death and whether they should make any recommendations regarding services for children and their families. Recommendations may be reported to local health trusts, children’s services and police, and, where appropriate, specialist agencies, such as fire services or traffic authorities. These recommendations may assist in the planning of services for children and families in the future.
In Birmingham, the Chair of the panel writes to all parents advising them about the review process and inviting them to share any information that they want the panel to know. Unfortunately, it is not possible for parents or family representatives to attend panel meetings. All the information gathered is treated with respect and in the strictest confidence. None of the findings, recommendations or reports will name the child or family.
The 2020-2021 annual report from the Birmingham Child Death Review Team and Child Death Overview Panel is avilable to view here.
Contact the Birmingham & Solihull Child Death Review Team
- Sarah Hunt, Lead Nurse - 07739 631 561
- Sue Cope, Lead Nurse - 07388 714 171
- Jo Fox, Administrator - 07845 055 269
- Melisha McKenzie, Child Death Overview Panel Co-ordinator - 07585 104 611