Joint inspections of health, social care and criminal justice services for vulnerable children and young people will launch in February, it has been announced.
Under the new system Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) will jointly assess how local authorities, the police, health, probation and youth offending services are working together to identify, support and protect vulnerable children and young people.
Six inspections will take place in the period up to September with agencies getting 9 days’ notice.Each inspection will include a "deep dive" element, with the first set focusing on children at risk of sexual exploitation and those missing from home, school or care. Future areas of focus will be decided upon with input from key stakeholders.
Ofsted’s national director for social care, Eleanor Schooling, said: “The responsibility of safeguarding cannot rest with one agency alone. These new inspections will provide a comprehensive picture of how several agencies work together in an area to ensure children are safe. This is an important step forward for inspection. The joint approach will allow us to act swiftly where we are concerned about specific issues in an area so we can ensure that every agency is doing its part.
"Equally, it will give us an important opportunity to look at good practice and really understand how local areas are tackling the challenges they face. We are confident these inspections will support improvement and have a positive impact on the experiences of children and young people."