11. Preparing for an inspection
What happens before an inspection.
11.1 Analysis and planning
Pre-inspection analysis and planning are an important part of all SCCIF inspections. Inspectors are allocated 1 day to prepare for a full inspection. This time is used to review the information held by Ofsted and to ensure that the fieldwork is properly focused and used to best effect in collecting first-hand evidence.
The information that Ofsted holds includes:
- previous inspection reports
- completed questionnaires from children, young people, parents and carers and other interested parties
- the scheme’s statement of purpose
- any concerns and complaints received
- notifications of serious events
- reports of visits received under regulation 29
- quality assurance reports received under regulation 30 (including monitoring by the registered person of any incident when a child accommodated at the scheme goes missing)
- any changes to registration, including change of manager received under regulation 32
- any enforcement activity within the last inspection year
Some of this information is drawn together in the provider information portal (PIP).
In addition, the inspector should always familiarise themselves with relevant background and context information such as the most recent inspection of the local authority where the centre is situated.
If information has been received that indicates potential non-compliance with regulatory requirements, Ofsted may decide to investigate at an inspection. In these cases, the concern will be a line of enquiry for the inspection. The inspector outlines the concern to the manager at the beginning of the inspection. The inspector will carry out an analysis of the available evidence and information and must record their planning notes on the inspection database.
The plan for the inspection should identify lines of enquiry and any areas of apparent weakness or significant strength or areas where further evidence needs to be gathered. The focus of the inspection may change during its course as further evidence emerges.
Each year, Ofsted uses online questionnaires to gather a range of views about different types of setting. Where relevant, this includes the views of:
- children and young people
- parents and carers
- foster carers
- adult service users
- other interested parties such as placing social workers and independent reviewing officers
Ofsted sends links to the questionnaires annually to each provider by email and asks them to distribute those links on its behalf. The responses are submitted directly to Ofsted.
Responses are shared with the inspector for the service or setting and are used to inform the planning and scheduling of inspections. Where there are no responses for a service or setting, this also forms a line of enquiry for the inspection.
11.3 Notifications and reports made under regulation 29 and 30
Inspectors must regularly review notifications and reports made under regulations 29 and 30. This is important regulatory activity. Inspectors must focus on both their content and quality as part of their evaluation of the scheme’s monitoring of its impact on the experiences of children.
Information from any of these sources may result in:
- further activity such as speaking to the registered manager and/or responsible individual or other stakeholders
- rescheduling of inspections based on either identified concerns within reports and/or notifications or based on a failure to submit reports or notifications
- lines of enquiry for the next inspection about what is happening during any holiday events the scheme holds, including:
- the management of issues and concerns
- the quality and effectiveness of leadership
- oversight concerning the care of children and young people
- the timeliness of notifications to Ofsted and other parties
Any emerging lines of enquiry must be noted on the scheme’s records and inform pre-inspection planning.
Registered persons (providers and managers) are required to notify Ofsted about specific incidents and events as set out in regulations.
Providers should always seek advice from their link inspector about individual cases if they are uncertain how to proceed.
If the inspector identifies issues that give them cause for concern about the welfare of children, they should ask for evidence that shows what has been done to help and protect the child. If notifications are incomplete, the inspector should always contact the scheme’s manager for ask for more information.
Whenever there are concerns about the safety or welfare of a child, the inspector must contact the scheme’s manager so that Ofsted is fully aware of the actions being taken by the scheme, the placing authority and other relevant parties (such as the host authority and police) to promote and safeguard the welfare of the child. Managers and staff should take into account the appropriate parts of the statutory guidance outlined in ‘Working together to safeguard children’ (2015).
If the inspector has any concern about the practice of either the placing local authority or the host local authority, this is managed in line with the published policy ‘Management of cross-remit concerns about children’s welfare’. The director of children’s services must be notified immediately of the concerns so they can review the situation. This information also informs any forthcoming local authority inspection.
Inspectors closely monitor whether Ofsted is informed of the outcome of any child protection enquiry in line with regulations and statutory guidance. When this has not been received promptly, the inspector contacts the registered provider or manager of the holiday scheme. Inspectors will always follow up any failure to notify Ofsted of the outcome.
Regulations 29 and 30 reports can be submitted online. This is the best and most secure method of receiving notifications. Regulations 29 and 30 reports can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
However, information sent by email is not secure. Providers should remain aware of the associated risks while operating within the information guidelines of their own organisation. They must include Ofsted’s unique reference number (URN) and the date on which the visit occurred on the report and submit reports to the document handling centre manager.
Regulation 29 and 30 reports can be posted to:
Document Handling Centre Manager
Applications, Regulatory and Contact Team
PO Box 4317