Councils’ integrated children’s services may face tougher demands from inspectors this year.
In guidance on the annual performance assessment of children’s services, Ofsted stated that while 2005 was a “period of transition”, in 2006 local authorities would need to “demonstrate their ability to meet new expectations”.
Ofsted has also confirmed that the assessment will not contain a separate rating for education, a move revealed by Community Care last month (Education to lose separate rating, 23 February).
The guidance says councils’ self-assessments should reflect the development of their children and young people’s plans, which must be in place by 1 April 2006.
Ofsted expects that the self-assessment and the review of children and young people’s plans will be the same document from 2007.
Councils must submit their selfassessments by 31 May and scrutiny by Ofsted and the Commission for Social Care Inspection will take place in June and July.
John Coughlan, director of children’s services at Hampshire Council, said the new guidance “feels like a different approach”.
● Arrangements for the Annual Performance Assessment of Children’s Services 2006 from www.ofsted.gov.uk