Plans for joint child protection inspections involving regulators across social care, health and youth justice are in disarray.
Ofsted has deferred plans for joint child protection inspections
Inspections involving Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons were to get underway this June.
But in a statement, Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has said that the planned joint inspection regime has been deferred “following discussions with local government representatives and after assessing the results of initial pilots”.
He also revealed that Ofsted has abandoned plans to inspect looked-after children’s services and child protection separately.
The joint inspection was among recommendations made by Professor Eileen Munro in her child protection review.
A spokeswoman from health regulator CQC says the regulators involved are “disappointed” with the decision.
She said: “We hope the deferment will be as brief as possible, and that our partner regulators and inspectorates will continue to work collaboratively to bring this forward.
“We believe this is the very best approach to assist children who need protection.
“CQC remains committed to a multi-agency approach to child protection and we continue to support Professor Eileen Munro’s recommendations that inspections should look at the contribution all organisations make to keeping children safe.”
She added that the CQC is continuing its plans to inspect safeguarding arrangements for children using health services.
Alan Wood, vice-president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), said concerns around the accountability of regulators involved was a key factor in the deferment.
“More needs to be done to resolve how the new framework can test, challenge and judge the specific accountabilities of each agency when it comes to protecting and helping children, young people and their families,” he said.
Wood backed the delay and said ADCS would continue to work with Ofsted to ensure any new joint inspection regime is “fit for purpose”.
Wilshaw is to meet with all chief inspectors “in the near future to agree the next steps”.
Ofsted’s single inspection of child protection and looked-after children’s services, including fostering and adoption, will begin in September, Wilshaw confirmed.
A consultation and piloting of this single inspection process will start in June.
SOURCE: Children & Young People Now