Child death overview panels data

Category: | Source: Department for Education

March 2012

Since 1 April 2008 all local safeguarding children boards are required to review the deaths of all children in their area, in order to learn lessons and reduce the incidence of preventable child deaths in future. They undertake this via child death overview panels (CDOPs).

While the statistical releases available from the Department for Education provide only a limited overview of deaths from childhood accidents, local child death overview panels (CDOPs) can make a useful contribution to local work on child accident prevention.

National statistical releases for preventable child deaths in England are available for years ending 31 March 2009, 2010 and 2011. They provide a limited national picture of deaths from childhood accidents and other causes.

Initially, CDOPs were unfamiliar with child accident prevention, and sometimes viewed identifying an accidental death as preventable as the apportionment of blame. As a result, not all preventable accidental deaths were viewed as such. From April 2010 onwards, CDOPs were asked to identify if there were any modifiable factors in the death rather than to assess if the death was preventable.

This change was reflected in the statistical release for 2011. This was also the first year in which CDOPs were required to provide details about the age, gender and ethnicity of the children. However, despite these changes, the mortality data available from ONS is currently a more reliable source of data on accidental deaths in childhood.

In addition, the detailed information collected by CDOPs on child deaths is not yet collated nationally, so the statistical releases are of limited value for work on accident prevention. However, CDOPs themselves can make a useful contribution to local work on child accident prevention.

Contact information: 

Sarah Wolstenholme
Telephone: 020 7340 8479

Updated June 2013