Inspecting local authority children's services: guidance for providers
Ofsted inspects local authority services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers.
Inspections look at the experiences and progress of:
- children who need help and protection, including early help
- children looked after, including: adoption, fostering, the use of residential care, children who return home, and achieving permanent homes and families for children and young people
- young people leaving care or preparing to leave care
Ofsted will usually review the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) at the same time as the local authority inspection. Ofsted findings about the the local authority and the LSCB will usually be published at the same time.
Inadequate local authorities will receive quarterly visits to monitor their progress.
When you’ll be inspected
Your inspection can take place at any time.
If you have been judged inadequate, you will get a monitoring visit every 3 months.
Getting notice of an inspection
You will get 1 day’s notice of the inspection.
If you have been judged inadequate, Ofsted will agree with you the dates of your monitoring visits.
Before the inspection
Ofsted will ask you to prepare the information listed in Annex A of the inspection framework.
During the inspection
- look at the experiences of children and young people
- test the thresholds for providing help, care and protection to children and young people
- evaluate the quality and impact of the help, care and protection given to children and young people and families
- meet with children, young people, parents and carers
- shadow staff
- observe meetings
- identify areas of outstanding practice and priorities for improvement
After the inspection
The inspector will send your report to:
- the director of children’s services, the lead member for children’s services and the chief executive
- the chair of the Local Safeguarding Children Board if there was a review during the inspection
For a monitoring visit of an inadequate local authority, the inspector will send the visit’s report to the director of children’s services.
Inspection reports are usually published online within 32 working days of the inspection. Monitoring reports are usually published online within 18 working days of the visit. You will find your report on the Ofsted inspection reports website.
Complain about an inspection
If you want to complain you should do so to the lead inspector or Ofsted’s quality assurance manager as soon as possible during the inspection.
You can read the full documents and guidance for local authority children’s services.