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Child deaths

Working Together to Safeguard Children defines an unexpected death as:

"The death of an infant or child which was not anticipated as a significant possibility for example, 24 hours before the death; or where there was an unexpected collapse or incident leading to or precipitating the events which lead to the death."

Child death overview panel

Every child death is a tragedy for the family and the wider community. The Swindon Safeguarding Partnership is required to have a child death overview panel (CDOP) to collect and analyse information about the deaths of children and young people (up to the age of 18) in the area. From this information, it is possible to identify patterns and trends and take specific action to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Swindon and Wiltshire work together on child deaths. This ensures that information and data collected is based on a meaningful sample size and that local agencies are able to respond more effectively to child deaths.

The key functions of a CDOP are to:

  • review all child deaths, excluding those babies who are stillborn and planned terminations of pregnancy carried out within the law
  • determine whether the death was preventable (if there were modifiable factors which may have contributed to the death)
  • decide what, if any, actions could be taken to prevent such deaths happening in the future
  • identify patterns or trends in local data and reporting these to the SSP
  • refer cases to Swindon Safeguarding Partnership where there is suspicion that neglect or abuse may have been a factor in the child’s death. In such cases, a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review may be required
  • agree local procedures for responding to unexpected child deaths

Guidance and protocol:

CDOP annual report:

CDOP newsletters: