Press release

Consultation on targeted programme of integrated inspections

An Ofsted consultation proposes that inspectors will work together to look at the effectiveness of local authorities.

Staff and children in a social care setting

Today sees the consultation launch of the targeted programme of integrated inspections. This marks a major step forward in the way that the contribution of local agencies is assessed with regards to the help, care and protection of children, young people and families.

Under proposals published today, from April 2015, Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation, and where appropriate, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons will work together to carry out a targeted programme of ‘integrated’ inspections.

The inspection programme is not universal and does not replace the existing inspection programmes of each inspectorate.

The integrated inspections will see partner inspectorates working alongside each other to look at the effectiveness of local authorities, health, police, probation and other services in helping to protect and care for children and young people.

Each inspectorate will make a separate judgement about the specialist professional contribution of the services they inspect.

The judgement for local safeguarding children board (LSCB) will be a shared judgement among the inspectorates.

Debbie Jones, Ofsted’s National Director for Social Care, said:

The consultation we are launching today is an important and complementary step for inspection. This approach will enable us to bring together in those places that benefit from an integrated inspection, a better picture of how children are helped, cared for and protected by agencies in a local area.

The ambition is to encourage a far greater focus – from all agencies involved - on the experiences of children and the quality of the help and care they are given. The protection, help and care of children and young people is everybody’s business and I am pleased that following last year’s decision to defer this work, we are now in a position to launch our consultation on this targeted and shared programme.

The new ‘integrated’ approach means that inspectorates will be on site in a local authority area within the same four week inspection window. This will ensure information is quickly shared about how professionals support families and protect children and young people.

The inspectorates will publish their respective findings and judgements together in one report which will also include the shared judgement for LSCB.

The move toward integrated inspection was recommended by Professor Eileen Munro in her 2011 review of child protection, which found that the quality and effectiveness of care and protection for children and young people could only be properly evaluated by taking into account the contributions of all local services.

Debbie Jones concluded:

Ultimately each inspectorate shares the same important aim - that of driving forward the best professional practice that makes the most positive difference.

I hope that everyone who has an interest in the safety and welfare of children, young people and their families, particularly those who work in the field, will take part in the consultation – and help us shape and develop inspections that raise standards and improve lives.

The consultation will run from 23 June – 12 September 2014 (12 weeks), and can be accessed via any one of the inspectorate websites.

The consultation seeks views on six specific proposals:

  • criteria for selecting the local areas to be inspected
  • judgement structure for the integrated inspection
  • new grade descriptors for the judgement of ‘good’, in health services and the police force.
  • new criteria that will be used to evaluate youth offending teams, providers of probation services and providers of custodial and detention services
  • proposed shared summary of key findings and the proposal that each inspectorate will produce a separate report outlining their detailed findings for the specialist service that they have inspected
  • joint inspection of the LSCB to evaluate its effectiveness and impact

Today’s consultation is published alongside an overview report which summarises the collective learning for all inspectorates in their inspections of the help, care and the protection of children since November 2013.

Notes to editors

Welcoming statements for the new integrated inspections:

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice for CQC said:

This consultation presents a vital opportunity for people with child protection knowledge and experience to help shape and improve the way in which services are inspected in future. The Care Quality Commission strongly encourages people to contribute by sharing their views.

Increasing communication and collaboration between agencies is essential in order to achieve the best outcomes for our vulnerable young people.

HM Inspector of Constabulary, Drusilla Sharpling said:

HMIC has a strong interest in how the police service protects children. We recognise it is a complex issue that requires input from a number of agencies.

I welcome this consultation and I am very interested to hear the views of those working in the field of child protection. Their input will be invaluable in informing how we proceed with these inspections. I encourage those with a view on child protection to respond to this consultation.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said:

Children held in custody are among some of the most challenging and vulnerable in the whole country. HM Inspectorate of Prisons very much welcomes the opportunity to be involved in work which aims to improve the way these young people are cared for and looked after.

HM Chief Inspector of Probation, Paul McDowell:

Staff working in both probation and youth offending services have a vital role to play, alongside other agencies, in protecting children. They also have a key role in managing offenders who pose a risk to children. These integrated inspections will help to provide assurance that this work is done properly, identify where improvements to practice are needed, and ensure recommendations for improvement are addressed.

  1. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.
  2. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, caring, well-led and responsive care, and we encourage care services to improve. We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.
  3. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects and regulates all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
  4. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.
  5. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation is an independent inspectorate, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, and reporting directly to the Secretary of State on the effectiveness of work with individual adults, children and young people who offend, aimed at reducing reoffending and protecting the public.

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Published 23 June 2014