Press release

Inspectorates committed to joint inspection

Inspectorates announce they are to focus on joint targeted area inspections of children’s services.

Short, sharp, targeted multi-agency inspections of the protection of children and young people are to be introduced this year, inspectorates Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorates of Constabulary and Probation have announced.

Today (26 February 2015) the inspectorates publish results of pilots and consultation on ‘integrated’ inspections announced last year. In the integrated model, inspectorates separately assessed the contribution of local agencies within the same area, at the same time.

The pilots and consultation confirmed the clear benefits of inspectorates working together to see how children and young people are protected by the local agencies they come into contact with.

However, the inspectorates believe they can have a greater impact if they focus their attention into a shorter, sharper joint targeted inspection looking specifically at how well agencies work together to protect children in a locality area and targeted on specific areas of concern, such as the sexual exploitation of children and young people.

These joint, targeted inspections will enable inspectorates to set out clearly how partnership working in relation to a particular issue in a particular area improves the experiences and progress of children and young people.

Matthew Coffey, Ofsted’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

Collective working over the past 2 years has shown real benefits when inspectorates are able to jointly assess the contribution of a range of agencies to the help, care and protection of children and young people. While our pilots of integrated working were successful in part, the results show that we need to rethink how we use our resources to be more responsive. Our work together has got to add value to the local partnership and the integrated model did not do that enough.

Successful joint working between local agencies is paramount if children are to be effectively safeguarded. Ofsted and our fellow inspectorates are committed to joint inspection as a vital way of assessing how well agencies are working together to protect children. We have learned what works and what does not work and so we are in a good place to introduce a programme that is much more targeted, more responsive and that provides a shared narrative about what is happening locally.

We are today announcing further work with the sector with a view to introducing targeted joint local area inspections later this year. This proposed model will enable inspectors to report clear examples of both good and poor practice from which others can learn.

Inspectorates will be working with stakeholders this summer, and following further consultation, plan to launch this programme of joint work in the Autumn, carrying out 6 inspections before March 2016.

In the meantime, each inspectorate will continue to carry out separate inspections of safeguarding and child protection under existing frameworks.

Notes to editors

  1. The consultation responses and pilot results can be found online.
  2. 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 and 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 assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

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