Inspecting local authority arrangements for supporting school improvement: guidance for providers

Ofsted inspects local authority arrangements for supporting improvement in schools.

This guidance was withdrawn on

This guidance has been withdrawn because it no longer reflects current policy.

Notice of an inspection

An inspection will normally last for 2 weeks.

The lead inspector will usually inform the local authority’s director of children’s services (DCS) 5 working days before the start of the on-site inspection.

If the DCS (or their equivalent) is unavailable, the lead inspector will ask to speak to the most senior officer available with responsibility for school improvement.

During the inspection’s first week

The lead inspector will discuss the inspection process with the local authority. They will ask for meetings to be arranged with key personnel during the on-site visit in the inspection’s second week. The lead inspector will also ask for information to be available to the inspection team at the start of the on-site inspection, for example a summary of the authority’s self-evaluation (if available) and contextual background.

A focused inspection of a number of individual schools will inform the inspection of your local authority.

A separate telephone survey of schools and academies within the local authority area that are not under inspection will also be used to gather evidence.

During the inspection’s second week: on-site visit

The lead inspector will meet briefly with the chief executive and/or DCS at the beginning of the inspection to confirm arrangements.

Inspectors must spend as much time as possible gathering evidence.

Meetings must be held with elected members, senior and operational staff, school-based staff and governors and other stakeholders.

The lead inspector should meet the DCS or their equivalent throughout the inspection to:

  • provide an update on emerging issues and enable further evidence to be provided
  • allow the DCS, their equivalent or nominee to raise concerns, including those related to the conduct of the inspection or of individual inspectors
  • alert the DCS to any serious concerns


At the end of the inspection, there must be a brief feedback meeting that includes, where possible, the DCS or their equivalent, the lead elected member and chief executive.

Inspectors will share and clarify the main inspection findings and outline how the local authority can improve further.

After the inspection visit

The inspection report will be sent to the DCS or their equivalent shortly after the end of the inspection, with 5 working days for comments on its factual accuracy.

The local authority will then receive an electronic version of the final report, usually within 28 working days of the end of the inspection.

This should be sent to stakeholders within 5 working days.

The report will be published online.

Complaints about inspections

Any complaints about an inspection should be raised immediately with the lead inspector.

For issues that can’t be resolved during the inspection, you can raise a formal complaint with Ofsted.

Published 3 December 2014
Last updated 22 September 2015 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect new framework and handbook.

  2. First published.