Child protection services are to be subject to new multi-agency inspections under proposals announced this week. From 2013, Ofsted will work with other government watchdogs to undertake no-notice inspections of multi-agency arrangements for the protection of children.
At present, Ofsted’s in-depth child protection inspections only cover local authority provision, but the new proposals will extend its remit to include other services such as health, police and probation.
Inspections will be unannounced and carried out over a two-week period. The inspection team will look at the work of all local services responsible for protecting children, focusing on how effectively agencies work together to identify, help and protect children who may be at risk of harm.
Under the proposals, which will now go out to consultation, Ofsted will be charged with working on child protection matters with the Care Quality Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons and, where necessary, Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.
Ofsted has also published plans for a new programme of inspections of services for children in care, which would be carried out in partnership with the Care Quality Commission. The proposal is to create a dedicated inspection programme for looked after children and care leavers, replacing the current separate inspections for looked after children’s services, local authority adoption agencies and local authority fostering services.