Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Ofsted Data on Child Deaths

Children and Young People Now reports on data obtained by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming from Ofsted on child deaths resulting from injuries or neglect. These are said to have increased from 46 in the whole of 2008 to 56 in the first 10 months of 2009.

Any rise in child deaths must be worrying, but I do not know if John Hemming is right to attribute the rise to poor-decision making by social workers, as he is reported as doing. Figures of this sort will vary from year to year, sometimes quite dramatically because of the small numbers involved. What counts is the long-term trend.

We are told that Hemming obtained the figures from Ofsted under a Freedom of Information request. It seems to me wrong that this type of information is not routinely published by Ofsted. Policy-makers and professionals need to know what is happening and we all need to keep a careful eye on what might be an unwelcome reversal of the downward drift in child deaths reported earlier this year by Professor Colin Pritchard.