Inspection regime ‘faces difficulties’

    Social services directors are warning of problems in tailoring a
    coherent inspection regime for merged education and children’s
    social services departments.

    A discussion paper from Ofsted promises more emphasis on outcomes,
    with more input from young people, parents and carers and special
    attention to vulnerable groups.

    Councils’ social and education services will be assessed annually
    and the results fed into the comprehensive performance assessment.
    Joint area reviews will be carried out every three years and
    incorporate contributions from other services.

    But John Coughlan, co-chairman of the Association of Directors of
    Social Services’ children and families committee, said producing a
    streamlined inspection regime would prove a “challenging
    process”.

    “A new joint process has to cover an enormous amount of terrain and
    recognise different cultures,” he said.

    ADSS vice president Tony Hunter said more work was needed to
    produce consistent standards for the new departments.

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