NAFP responds to Ofsted implementation review of the social care common inspection framework, 1 March 2019

Ofsted's review of the implementation of the social care common inspection framework (SCCIF) published today contains some important messages about focusing on the things that matter most to children’s lives, consistency in judgements and expectations of providers of children's social care. In general, the SCIFF has been well received by members of the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers (NAFP), independent and voluntary sector fostering providers (IFPs) who care for over 95% of children placed with IFPs. Certainly, Ofsted's continuing focus on the journey of children in care and the things that make a positive impact on their lives is welcome. But we still believe there is room for improvement, in particular:

  • Consistency of inspection practice across regions – our members still report variations that are difficult to understand and can seem to be contradictory.
  • Holding IFPs and corporate parents to account appropriately – caring for children requires a genuine and actual collaboration. All partners need to play their role for this to work successfully. Sometimes, despite their best efforts to support other partners, IFPs feel they are held responsible for actions beyond their control.
  • Cross referencing of inspections across agencies – each local authority works with a number of IFPs, sometimes as many as 40 or more. Similarly, each IFP works with a number of local authorities. When Ofsted inspects any one of these, they gather insights about the others. This data should be stored and cross-referenced to inform future inspections.
  • Transparency of inspection judgements – we still believe that Ofsted could do more to explain judgements, including sharing internal quality assurance processes and guidance issued to inspectors. This is a key part of gaining and keeping the confidence of the services they regulate and inspect.

Ofsted itself is on a journey and it is one we share with them and will continue to support.

Implementing the social care common inspection framework - how did we do? Yvette Stanley, Ofsted's National Director for Social Care, 1 March 2019