Friday, 23 October 2009


The OFSTED report on Cornwall Children's Services is pretty depressing stuff. I was struck from reading it by how much focused on process rather than on outcome. And there was too much about "leadership" and "performance management" for my taste and not enough about the actual quality of the service. It confirms my view that inspections are blunt instruments. They tend to light upon things which are important to the inspectors, but which may be less important to those receiving the services.

There are some really worrying things in the Cornwall inspection report: insufficient capacity and large caseloads for example. But I get fed up with inspections which make bland and self-righteous recommendations such as "Ensure children’s social care team managers have the appropriate skills and expertise and consistently follow guidance, procedures and protocols". Such inspections fail to look behind the issues to find their causes. In my experience a pretty common reason for not following procedures is that it isn't possible to get the job done if you do. And there are two explanations for that: too few resources and too many procedures.