News story

Ofsted to conduct a thematic inspection of regional adoption agencies

Ofsted will visit 6 regional adoption agencies (RAAs) across the country as part of the inspection, which was commissioned by the government.

Ofsted will conduct a thematic inspection of RAAs this year to understand how key areas of adoption practice contribute to good outcomes for children and others affected by adoption.

The highest proportion of adoption activity in England is now undertaken by RAAs, following the move to a regional delivery of adoption services in recent years. These agencies undertake varying degrees of the recruitment, assessment, training, approval and adoption support services on behalf of a group of local authorities.

Most adoption practice in England is currently outside the scope of inspection as Ofsted does not have powers to inspect RAAs.

The thematic inspection will take place between October and December 2023 and will consider:

  • the effectiveness of the RAA’s recruitment, assessment, family finding and matching practice in providing safe, child focused and timely adoptive placements for children.
  • the effectiveness of adoption support for adoptive families, birth families and adopted adults.
  • the extent to which the RAA leader understands the service’s strengths and areas for development and their ability to take decisive and effective action for improvement.
  • the extent to which the views of those with a lived experience of adoption inform service delivery and improvement.
  • the extent to which the RAA governance arrangements enable the RAA to deliver effective services and provide the necessary assurance to member local authorities and other RAA partners.

Ofsted will publish the findings from its thematic inspection in spring 2024.

Yvette Stanley, National Director for Regulation and Social Care:

Adoption is one of several routes to a stable home. This thematic will provide a level of assurance and a helpful insight into the impact of adoption work delivered through regional models.

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Updates to this page

Published 1 September 2023