Response to Lord Laming’s review of child protection

Responding to the detail of Lord Laming’s review of the protection of children in England, Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, said:

'The protection of children is of the highest priority for Ofsted across all our inspection work, from our regulation of childminders to safety and well-being in different settings and the care provided to children at risk by local authorities.

'Lord Laming is right to focus on the need to ensure that inspections and inspectors particularly serve the needs of vulnerable children.

'In keeping with this, we have already been planning to change the way we inspect children’s social care with a new stronger focus on front line practice. Last September I proposed that we should carry out annual unannounced inspection visits of child protection arrangements in every local authority and this has been supported by the Secretary of State. These inspections will begin in April and they will support a three year programme of inspection of safeguarding and services for looked after children. If concerns are raised in the unannounced visit, this can trigger an early full inspection.

'To support this work and further strengthen our wider responsibilities we are recruiting additional inspectors with social care expertise.

'Our report Learning lessons, taking action last year highlighted the need to improve the usefulness of Serious Case Reviews. We believe that these are not currently carried out with sufficient rigour and I support Lord Laming’s further recommendations for their development.

'This important review has highlighted a large number of recommendations that relate either directly or indirectly to the work of Ofsted. We will work with all relevant parties and agencies to implement them all and contribute to the protection of children in England.'

Notes for Editors

1. The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects registered childcare and children's social care, including adoption and fostering agencies, residential schools, family centres and homes for children. It also inspects all state maintained schools, non-association independent schools, pupil referral units, further education, initial teacher education, and publicly funded adult skills and employment based training, the Children and Family Courts Advisory Service (Cafcass), and the overall level of services for children in local authority areas.