Kim Bromley-Derry, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, has fired a warning shot across the bows of OFSTED with talk of “time consuming and rigid” inspections which undermine the quality of practice.
Some may think that this is knee-jerk self-protection, but I think Kim has a point. I don’t believe that quality services come about as a result of inspection regimes; you can't inspect quality in. And I don’t believe that inspection by a body which is both relatively inexperienced in the field of child protection, and which seems to to be in awe of ministers, is any guarantee of good standards.
We need to think very carefully about what OFSTED is for. It’s not there to point the finger and to label work as “inadequate” or “awful”. The only point in its existence is to improve the quality of services. Instead of league tables and dispiriting pejorative judgments, why not carry out some thematic research into increasing safety and promoting quality in child protection?