Adoption support agencies could be given just 10 days’ notice before an Ofsted inspection, rather than the current eight-week period, under proposals outlined today.
A consultation, launched today by the watchdog and running until April 3, has set out a number of changes designed to re-focus inspections. They include reducing the number of judgements inspectors make from thirteen to just four and introducing a system where people can comment, at any time, about the service they receive.
Ofsted said the changes will focus inspections on “what makes a positive difference to outcomes for children, adoptive families and adults” and help inspectors to “gain as true a picture as possible” of an adoption support service.
John Goldup, Ofsted’s deputy chief inspector for social care, said: “Adoption is rightly under the spotlight at the moment – and we know that good adoption support can be critical to the success of adoption.
“These proposals will focus inspection on what matters most – the difference services are making to the lives of children and their families. If that support isn’t available, the result can be placement breakdown, which can be a devastating double rejection for children and traumatic for adopters who can be left with a huge sense of guilt and failure.”
The four key judgements inspectors will be expected to make, under the consultation, concern: outcomes for service users; the quality of service provision; safeguarding children, young people and families and the leadership and management of the service.
Inspections under the new regime will begin in September 2012, pending the consultation.