Ofsted: ‘work to rule will not delay children’s homes inspections’

Ofsted have denied unions’ claims that an ongoing work-to-rule protest by officials will delay inspections of children’s homes in England.

For the past two months, 1,000 inspectors and administrative staff have been working strict 36-hour weeks in a dispute over a new pay structure which they claim is “unfair and divisive”.

Unison and the Public and Commercial Services union say deadlines for inspections of children’s homes and other services such as early years may be missed as a result.

But a spokesperson for Ofsted said all scheduled inspections were on track, thanks to “robust contingency plans” which will remain in place throughout the period of industrial action. She added the new pay model was “much fairer with equity within grades”.

Nevertheless, Unison members believe the new pay-scale favours higher-ranking officials such as schools inspectors, 40% of whom will be enjoying pay rises of 6% a year for the next two years.

A spokesperson for the union, which represents 700 staff in the dispute, added that a third of social care inspectors, who currently earn £30-38,000, will have their salaries frozen for the next two years.

Neil March, negotiations officer for PCS, which represents 300 officials, said: “Not only do we have below-inflation pay but a divisive new pay structure as well.”

The protests began on 16 May with a one-day strike, which Ofsted said involved 342 staff members.

Officials then began the work-to-rule protest and initially refused to use their own cars for business purposes, although this was dropped on 1 August after a new policy on hire cars and taxis was introduced.

A Unison spokesperson said the work-to-rule action would continue until 16 September, and the situation was being “constantly reviewed”.

The Ofsted spokesperson added: “Ofsted has worked hard to resolve the dispute and has met with Unison and the PCS several times.”

External information

Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills 

Public and Commercial Services union

Unison’s Ofsted campaign

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