Following an independent report commissioned last year by the Government, recommendations were made to cut red tape and to put children and their families at the centre of the child protection system. The report was commissioned following a number of notorious failures of social works to safeguard children.
As from May this year, Ofsted have announced that inspections of child protection services are to be unannounced, more intensive and child-focused. Inspectors will, for the first time, be able to speak directly to children and their families about their experiences with the services. Inspectors will also be charged with looking at how social work departments are communicating with other bodies ie the police, charities, hospitals and schools.
John Goldup, Deputy Chief Inspector for Ofsted explained that Ofsted wants to ensure that inspectors are more able to judge the impact that the professions working in child protection are working to help and protect children. There is a plan to double the number of cases examined in order to ensure that there is an in-depth understanding of how well children are being protected.
Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton, has welcomed the planned changes.
Although some of the new system will come into force in May, further reforms to inspections are planned within the next two years.