What is a significant event in the eyes of Ofsted?

It may be many years, even decades, since you registered with Ofsted. At that point, Ofsted carried out a range of suitability checks based on the information you provided about your setting and the people connected with it.

Over time things change, but it is crucial to keep Ofsted updated with these changes. In the last month alone, I have heard from three managers who have been caught out by what is classed as a significant event. You must, by law, notify Ofsted if these changes negatively impact your childcare setting or the safety of children within it.

What does Ofsted class as a significant event?

It would be impossible to list every eventuality. Still, if you are unsure if it is significant, it is better to inform Ofsted and let them be the Judge.

Below are some examples. They fall into three main categories, Concerns, Events and Incidents, Health and Well-being and Admin Changes.

These are just some examples, please note this list is by no means exhaustive!

Concerns, Events and Incidents

Any incident involving safeguarding partners and statutory agencies, which may affect or affect someone’s suitability to care for children.
Significant events include but are not limited to
• Child protection
• Welfare or safety investigations
• Police/Fire services
• The local authority
• Mental health services
• Drug/alcohol services
• Environmental health
• Building control and planning departments

Any allegation of serious harm or abuse by persons living, working or caring for children on the premises.

Loss of a device containing or miss-use of children’s information.

Any incident where a child or children may have been at risk of harm, for example:
• A child was able to leave a setting or was missing for any period
• An unauthorised person gained access to the childcare premises
If you have been the victim of a crime that occurred on the childcare premises, such as assault, harassment or vandalism.

Any incidents of domestic abuse, self-harm or overdose.

Any one-off or ongoing incidents on or around your premises that may affect children, such as violence, criminal or sexual exploitation and gangs, county lines activity, grooming and child trafficking.

The disqualification of an employee or any person who lives or works on the premises where childcare is provided.

Health and Well-being

Any long-term condition that affects the physical ability to walk, balance, bend, kneel or lift a child.

Any alcohol or substance dependency or misuse.

Any other medical concerns, degenerative conditions or mental health conditions/disorders that may affect the individual’s suitability to care for, or be in regular contact with, children.

You will also need to notify them if you have been prescribed antidepressants.

Any incidents of food poisoning that have affected two or more children, you will also need to inform environmental health.

Any serious accident, illness, injury or death of a child in your care.

Any serious accident, illness, injury, or death of a person connected with your setting and the care of the children.

Admin Changes

Changes to the management or change of registered person.

Change the name, company registration number or charity registration number.

Changes to the name (s) and address(es) of the committee partnership.

Any change to the days, times or hours you provide childcare for.

How and when do you need to report a significant event?

Sooner rather than later! You have up to 14 days to inform Ofsted. However, you will be asked why there has been a time delay in reporting if you leave it. My advice is to do it as soon as possible after the event.

Since January 2021, you can no longer report these over the phone or via email. Instead, you will need to access the portal and complete the online form.

You will need your URN, childcare address, details of the event itself, the risk assessment, and what action you have taken to prevent a re-occurrence.

What happens next?

Ofsted’s next steps depend on the type of significant event. Ofsted will conduct a risk assessment based on the information you have provided them.
They may
• Contact you to discuss the information
• Contact other agencies involved for more information
• Consider if any new suitability checks are required
• Carry out a telephone interview, regulatory visit or inspection

Information regarding the significant event will be kept on file. It will be discussed at your next inspection.

Keep all documentation, including an action plan that you put in place following the incident. You will need to keep this information until your next inspection as a minimum requirement.

Don’t be scared. Please do it asap, don’t wait and be caught out. You can find out further information in the Compliance Handbook.

Jigsaw works with you and your team to achieve the best outcomes for children. We are passionate about ensuring you are promoting excellent practice and that you can have a positive impact on children’s lives. In addition, we deliver high-quality training and bespoke consultancy to all areas within Early Years, including childminders, pre-schools, and full day-care settings.

If you would like more help and advice or to book a Quality Improvement Audits (QIA), visit https://www.jigsawearlyyearsconsultancy.com/services/quality-improvement-audits/ or email admin@jigsaweyc.com