‘Little support for parallel reviews’

The burden of inspection has not been reduced by simultaneous joint area reviews and corporate assessments of children’s services, councils have told researchers.

An independent evaluation found that councils did not feel there was “added value” in a joined-up process.

The review, commissioned by Ofsted and the Audit Commission, also suggested staggering the joint area reviews (JAR) and corporate assessment processes. But it said that separating them was not required.

The quality of outcomes for children and young people is one of the five themes reported on by the corporate assessment. The content for this is produced by the JAR.

The evaluation involved three of the pilot joint reviews, in West Sussex, Sutton and Rochdale, and the eight areas covered by the first block of inspections in September 2005.

Meanwhile, JAR ratings have been published for two councils that appealed against their initial result.

Calderdale Council’s social care services for children were rated as adequate and Stoke’s as inadequate. The councils’ star ratings have not yet been published.


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