Ofsted has launched new arrangements for assessing council children’s services. The new rating, required under the 2006 Education and Inspections Act, replaces the annual performance assessment of councils and joint area reviews in localities.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, explained, ‘The new framework for assessing children’s services rightly has the inspection of front-line practice at its heart, paving the way for better and more effective services.’
The Ofsted rating of children’s services will draw on a wide range of findings from Ofsted’s inspections and regulation and make a significant contribution to the joint inspectorate CAA
Ofsted has published details of how it will provide an annual performance rating of council children’s services. The Comprehensive Area Assessment: annual rating of council children's services for 2009 document can be found on the Ofsted website at www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/090024
The changes are accompanied by new inspections of safeguarding and looked after children’s services, and each local authority and its partners will be inspected every three years. The inspections started in June and will be carried out by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary as appropriate. The new Ofsted rating of children’s services will draw on a wide range of findings from Ofsted’s inspections and regulation and make a significant contribution to the joint inspectorate CAA.
In addition, there will be annual, unannounced inspections of key child protection arrangements in each council. These two-day inspections examine the contact, referral and assessment arrangements for children and young people who may be in need of protection. They also observe front-line social work practice to see how well it manages the risk of harm to children and young people and minimises the incidence of child abuse and neglect.
In addition, there will be new, annual, unannounced inspections of key child protection arrangements in each council
‘Nobody can prevent every case of child mistreatment’, said Christine Gilbert. ‘However these new inspections give us the best basis for making judgements about the effectiveness of key child protection arrangements in each council area.’
Plans to strengthen the inspection of children’s social care were signalled in Ofsted’s consultation on the inspection of safeguarding and children’s services, published in September 2008. The new frameworks are informed by the results of the consultation and follow considerable engagement with stakeholders, as well as Lord Laming’s report, ‘The protection of children in England’.
The Inspections of safeguarding and looked after children services document can be found on the Ofsted website at www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/090027
The Unannounced inspections of contact, referral and assessment document can be found on the Ofsted website at www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/090026