Comment: Ofsted visits to local authorities and csc providers

Commenting on Ofsted’s assurance visits to local authorities and children’s social care providers Steve Crocker, Chair of the ADCS Standards, Performance and Inspection Policy Committee said:

“Covid-19 has required children’s services departments to swiftly adopt new and different ways of working. Similarly, children and young people have faced months of disruption to their lives because of the pandemic, many haven’t attended school since March or been able to access the vital support services they rely on. The pandemic may have changed the way we are working with children and families (sometimes for the better) but it has not changed our commitment to meeting their needs. Ofsted’s assurance visits may be one way of capturing the learning from this complex period, including identifying best practice in the context of the pandemic as well as what needs to be improved. These visits could also be helpful in developing our responses to future waves and pandemic events. That said, while health services may have passed through the first wave of Covid-19 related activity, children’s services and children’s social care has not and we are anticipating a difficult autumn as we expect many hidden harms to emerge as children become more visible to a range of professionals. This is likely to coincide with all pupils returning to school and the commencement of other inspection activity – including inspections of youth offending teams and schools – which will involve children’s services departments; this, combined with localised outbreaks and lockdowns could create significant pressure on our services and staff and the inspectorates must be alive to this. Whilst there may be benefits in capturing learning and developing practice, care must be taken to ensure that there is a balance between inspection, assurance, developing learning and allowing local authorities to respond to what we anticipate being a very tough autumn.”


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