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A new inspection regime launched this month underpins a drive to deliver a more integrated approach to identifying, supporting and protecting vulnerable children and young people. 




The Joint Targeted Area Inspections (JTAI) of services for vulnerable children and young people will see the four inspection agencies - Ofsted, Care Quality Commission (CQC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) – deliver a more cohesive approach to inspections. 

For social workers involved in this area, it will also deliver the opportunity to highlight and share best practice.

Joint assessments


The four inspectorates will now jointly assess how local authorities, the police, health, probation and youth offending services are working together for vulnerable children and young people. 

The inspections have been designed to be shorter to allow inspectorates to be more responsive, targeting specific areas of interest and concern, whilst also identifying areas for improvement and highlighting good practice.

Deep dive element


An important component of each inspection will be a ‘deep dive’ element focusing on children at risk of sexual exploitation and those missing from home, school or care, with the first set scheduled to be completed later this summer. Future areas of focus will be decided through input from key stakeholders.

Positive response


The new approach, successfully piloted in December, sits in line with more integrated services in this area, such as with multi-disciplinary safeguarding hubs to safeguard children.

When it was consulted on in July 2015, it received more than 200 responses from those working in children’s social care, health, police, probation and youth offending services.

Ofsted’s National Director for Social Care, Eleanor Schooling described the new approach as “an important step forward for inspection.”
“The responsibility of safeguarding cannot rest with one agency alone,” she added.
“These new inspections will provide a comprehensive picture of how several agencies work together in an area to ensure children are safe.”

Swift action


The joint approach will allow agencies to act swiftly where they are concerned about specific issues but will also provide “an important opportunity to look at good practice and really understand how local areas are tackling the challenges they face.”
The inspection report will include narrative findings that clearly set out what the local partnership and agencies are doing well, and what they need to do to improve. 

Thematic overview


As each set of inspections by theme are completed, a thematic overview report will be published to highlight the learning more widely.

The inspections will replace Ofsted’s current thematic inspection programme and from February, Ofsted will also be able to carry out its own targeted inspections of local authorities and Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs). Used alongside current inspections of local authorities, Ofsted Targeted Local Authority Inspections will allow the inspectorate, if necessary, to act proportionately and responsively in areas where risks are identified.

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