Child death reviews

As from the 1 October 2019, the child death review process has taken a PAN Sussex approach and covers West Sussex, East Sussex and Brighton & Hove. This is in keeping with the statutory guidance to review a minimum of 60 deaths per year as it will enable thematic learning in order to identify potential safeguarding or local health issues that could be modified in order to protect children from harm and, ultimately, save lives.

Details of our new operational working of the Child Death Overview Panel is found at the bottom of this page.

Future child death review processes (previously referred to as PAN Sussex unexpected child death procedures) are currently being reviewed and will be published in due course.

Child death reviews

The death of a child is a devastating loss that profoundly affects bereaved parents as well as siblings, grandparents, extended family, friends and professionals who were involved in caring for the child in any capacity. When a child dies, in any circumstances, it is important for parents and families to understand what has happened and whether there are any lessons to be learned.  The responsibility for ensuring child death reviews are carried out is held by Child Death Review Partners, who are defined as the local authority for the area in which the child died in England and any clinical commissioning groups operating within that local authority area.  The child death review partner’s statutory duties are laid out in Working Together 2018 Chapter 5 and Child Death Review Statutory and Operational Guidance (England).

These Child Death Review Partners must arrange to review all deaths of children normally resident in the local area and, if considered appropriate, for any non-resident child who has died in their area. The purpose of a review and/or analysis is to identify any matters relating to the death, or deaths, that are relevant to the welfare of children in the area or to public health and safety, and to consider whether action should be taken in relation to any matters.

A National Child Mortality Database has been operational since 1st April 2019 and learning from all child death reviews will be shared with this database, which may in addition take into account information from other reviews in order to identify any trends or similarities with deaths. 

Notification of a child death

The child death review partners must be notified within 24 hours of a child’s death. As soon as a professional becomes aware of a child death they should complete a notification form on the eCDOP portal.

eCDOP is a new online management system which is accessible 24/7, enabling all practitioners to promptly submit child death information.  It is externally hosted to ensure compliance with new and emerging requirements, including GDPR.

Please note, eCDOP replaces the old system for notifying and reporting child death. For deaths occurring after the 1 April 2019, please do not use any of the old forms as these will not be accepted. Notification and reporting of cases occurring after 1 April 2019 must be made via eCDOP.

Following notification of the death of a child death, all agencies that have been involved with the child will be required to submit a B. Reporting Form (previously known as Form B) via the eCDOP portal.  If you are required to submit a B. Reporting Form, you will receive a request by email which will include a link to the reporting form specific to the case. 

Family engagement and bereavement support

The processes that follow the death of a child are complex, in particular when multiple investigations are required. Recognising this, all bereaved families will be given a Child Death Review Nurse who will fulfil the role of single, named point of contact to whom they can turn for information on the child death review process, and who can signpost them to sources of support. Families should expect to be able to contact the child death review nurse during normal working hours. The leaflet When a Child Dies – A Guide for Parents and Carers should be given in printed format to all bereaved families or carers.

Additional useful websites for bereavement support:

Contact details

For further information or queries please contact the Child Death Review Coordinator for Sussex.

The designated doctors for child death and the child death review nurse team can also be contacted via the above details.

Supporting documents

Child Death Overview Panel | Guide to operational working