Jim Perchard admits Ofsted/Ofcare confusion

A Jersey social services minister has admitted mistakenly informing Community Care that the island’s government had approached Ofsted to inspect children’s services on the island.

Jim Perchard, assistant social services and health minister for the States of Jersey, said his previous statement to Community Care that there had been “discussions” with Ofsted was incorrect. Ofsted denied that any discussions had taken place.

Perchard said there had been “no protracted enquiry” as to whether Ofsted inspectors should visit the island.

He said the Jersey government had instead held talks with the Healthcare Commission over the regulation of health services, but had been told changes would have to await the creation of the new joint health and adult social care regulator for England, the Care Quality Commission, in 2009. He said that he “may have inadvertently” referred to Ofsted instead of Ofcare – which the Care Quality Commission was formerly dubbed – in his original interview with Community Care.

Perchard said the Jersey government had a “longstanding desire” to establish independent inspection of health and social services in Jersey. Current child protection concerns on the island have sparked calls for independent scrutiny of children’s services. The island is outside UK jurisdiction but can adopt its laws and regulations by agreement, as with the island’s prison, La Moye, which is inspected by the prisons inspectorate for England and Wales.

Perchard said he had asked UK social work expert Andrew Williamson, who is currently reviewing child protection in Jersey, to advise on inspection of children’s services. Williamson’s report is due within the next six weeks.

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