Ofsted is planning to tighten up its inspection of adoption and fostering agencies and it will reduce the notice of inspection from 6 weeks to 10 days. This will help inspectors gain as true a picture as possible of the service that is being provided.
The new style inspection will extend the focus beyond making sure that the agencies comply with regulatory requirements to include the quality of services and the difference these make to children’s lives in supporting them to grow up in secure and loving families. Consideration of how well a service promotes equality and values diversity will be key in every judgement area
For adoption, Ofsted plans to involve children routinely and directly in the inspection of adoption services and continue where possible to meet with birth parents. Ofsted will report on how well agencies do in ensuring the timely and effective identification of children for whom adoption is the right option and the approval and placement of children with adoptive families, helping make sure the process is as smooth and quick as possible for all involved.
The plans reflect the new national minimum standards and statutory guidance introduced by the government in April 2011.
The consultation for inspection of adoption and fostering agencies runs until 31 August and key findings will be published at the end of the year. The results from the consultation and a series of pilot inspections will inform and shape the new inspection frameworks which will come into force on April 2012.