9. Scheduling and the inspection team
How an inspection is scheduled and who makes up the team.
9.1 Frequency of inspection
Ofsted has a duty to inspect voluntary adoption agencies at least once in every 3-year cycle (Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills (fees and frequency of inspections) (children’s homes etc.) regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/551)).
We usually re-inspect agencies that are inadequate within 12 to 18 months of their previous inspection.
The scheduling of inspections takes account of:
- legal requirements
- previous inspection findings
- complaints and concerns about the service
- returned questionnaires from children, young people, foster carers, social workers and other stakeholders notifications
- reports submitted under NMS 25
- monitoring reports given to Ofsted by voluntary adoption agencies under regulation 24 of the Adoption support agencies (England) and adoption agencies (miscellaneous amendments) regulations 2005
9.3 Length of inspection
For a full inspection of a voluntary adoption agency, one inspector usually spends 5 days on site.
The inspector and the regulatory inspection manager (RIM) should decide how best to allocate resources for inspections. If it is necessary, the RIM should agree to either the inspector spending additional days on site or additional inspectors being deployed on the inspection.
Inspectors should consider:
- whether the amount of time on site should be reduced for inspections of small voluntary adoption agencies
- whether additional resources, such as more inspectors or more time on site (or both) should be deployed for inspections of larger agencies, or for agencies with a wide geographical spread, or where there are specific issues such as a serious incident to consider
Inspections will not normally be deferred. Absence or unavailability of important staff (unless the provider is a single person) or accommodation issues such as refurbishment will not usually be reasons for deferral. If no staff are available, the inspector should contact the responsible individual or person in charge to arrange access.
An inspection will only be deferred when it might place children or others at risk if it goes ahead or if the ability to gather secure evidence is severely restricted. These conditions might include:
- serious weather conditions that make access to sites difficult or dangerous or both
- a serious incident where the presence of an inspector would have an adverse impact on the safety and well-being of children, young people or adults
Decisions about deferrals are agreed by the regulatory inspection manager (RIM).