Ofsted’s new inspections are ‘intense and rigorous’

The first local authorities to be scrutinised under Ofsted’s new announced inspections regime have been rated adequate or above for their work on safeguarding and looked-after children.

Staffordshire and Devon County Councils both received a rating of adequate for safeguarding.

Staffordshire’s services for looked-after children were rated as adequate, while Devon’s received an overall rating of good.

Ian Parry, cabinet member for children and young people at Staffordshire County Council described the inspections as “intense and rigorous”, but said that inspectors did acknowledge the pressure that children’s services teams have been under since the death of Baby P.

Parry also claimed the inspections were focussed on outcomes for children, not processes, despite Ofsted having come under fire recently for concentrating too much on procedure in its unannounced inspections.

He said: “We are now in a good position to reflect on the inspection report and work with our partners to continue to improve the county’s services.”

Councils were given two weeks notice before the inspections, which lasted for two weeks and took place last month. The inspections paid special attention to how well agencies, such as the police and the health service, work together with local authorities to offer better services for children and young people.

In Staffordshire, a team of four inspectors examined the results of an anonymous survey of 627 social care staff, 498 looked-after children and 20 third sector organisations.

They also looked at 80 randomly selected case files and the findings of 84 meetings with key professionals, parents, carers and young people.