The Department for Education and Skills is consulting on the frequency of inspection for children’s social care services.
Under the DfES proposals, published today, poor-performing children’s homes could be inspected at least three times a year.
However, the DfES is also proposing that the best-performing services, with the exception of children’s homes and residential special schools, could be inspected once every three years.
The new system would enable inspectors to focus their attention on services that need the most scrutiny.
Children’s homes are currently inspected twice a year, fostering services, residential special schools and residential family centres once a year, and adoption services once every three years.
The DfES could also require service providers to produce an annual quality assurance assessment for inspectors.
The consultation closes on 10 November.
The inspection of children’s social care services is scheduled to move from the Commission for Social Care Inspection to an enlarged Ofsted from April 2007.
The proposals for inspecting children’s social care follow similar measures for adult services which came into force in April 2006. These were first outlined in CSCI’s Inspecting for Better Lives document.More on this subject and national minimum standards for children’s social care here