Child Death Overview Panel

Each death of a child is a tragedy for his or her family, and subsequent enquiries / investigations should keep an appropriate balance between forensic and medical requirements and the family’s need for support. A minority of unexpected deaths are the consequence of abuse or neglect or are found to have abuse or neglect as an associated factor. Across the Luton and Bedfordshire, all statutory agencies are committed to working together to conduct coordinated enquiries. For the latest information please download the CDOP Information sheet August 2017 and CDOP Report 2017- 2018

Government legislation since April 2008 require LSCB’s to review the death of every child (from 0 up to the age of 18) in the area. This reflects the need to learn any lessons that may help to reduce child deaths in the future.

The Panel 

The Child Death Overview Panel meets every six weeks and all child deaths are reviewed and it is responsible for collecting and analysing information about the death of every child under 18 years in Luton and Bedfordshire with a view to:

  • Identifying any matters of concern affecting the safety & welfare of children in the area
  • Identifying any wider public health or safety concerns arising from a particular death or pattern of deaths the area
  • Identifying any case that should be considered as a Serious Case Review

It also has the job of overseeing the process of conducting a rapid response by a group of key professionals to enquire into and evaluate each unexpected death of a child.

Unexpected Deaths – Rapid Response Procedure

An unexpected death is defined as the death of an infant or child which was not anticipated as a significant possibility i.e. 24 hours before the death or where there was a similarly unexpected collapse leading to or precipitating the events which led to the death.

Whenever an unexpected death of a child occurs, a multi-agency response is initiated including a lead Consultant Paediatrician, a Bedfordshire Police Senior Investigating Officer, A & E staff, ambulance staff, GPs, social care, health visitors and the Coroner to enquire into the circumstances of the death, determine who will support the family and ensure there are no safeguarding concerns for other children in the family.

A decision will be made as to which professional will take the lead. This would be the police where there are apparent suspicious circumstances or other external factors. The lead Paediatrician would usually take the lead where there are apparent health or medical factors which have resulted in the death of the child.

Modifiable Factors

The Panel will consider whether there were any modifiable factors identified during the review of the death which may have contributed to the death of the child and which, by means of locally or nationally achievable interventions, could be modified to reduce the risk of future child deaths. These modifiable factors will help inform the public health agenda and inform staff of the emerging themes arising from the review of child deaths.

CDOP Contact Details:  Carol Blomfield Child Death Overview Process Manager - 01525 624332 (Direct Line) - Working days: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday

Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) Processes and Procedures: CDOP Procedures January 2016


Useful resources:

Safer sleeping presentation by CDOP Manager July 2014

Local safer sleeping leaflet Oct. 2014

Safer sleep for babies Easy Read Lithuanian. 2013

Safer sleep for babies easy read Farsi 2013



Free CDOP Training - 'Child Death Overview Process'

Would you like to know more about the Child Death Overview Process, emerging themes from the review of child deaths and your role if a baby/child known to you as a GP, nurse, midwife, health visitor, health care professional or social worker dies either expectedly or unexpectedly?

Aim of Session: Increase knowledge and awareness of the Child Death Overview Process and your role when a child known to you dies.  

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the purpose of the CDOP
  • Outline your role in response to unexpected deaths
  • Have an understanding of emerging themes
  • How these emerging themes will be integrated into your practice. 

Sessions facilitated by Lead Paediatrician CDOP Bedfordshire, CDOP Manager and Bedfordshire Police.  

For more information and to book a place for the sessions please contact: Carol Blomfield, CDOP manager. Tel: 01525 624332 or email






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