Sunday, 26 May 2013

A rating of 'inadequate'

I’ve been thinking more and more about Ofsted’s inspections of local authority arrangements for the protection of children; and about my deep unease at the number of local authorities which are being rated as ‘inadequate’.

You may remember that, in the second half of 2012, 35% (yes, thirty-five percent) of all authorities inspected were found to be inadequate. 

I did a bit of research for myself and found that of the 16 inspections so far conducted and reported on in 2013 (the last being Cheshire East on 11th March), 5 have resulted in an ‘inadequate’ rating – that’s a bit of an improvement at 31%, but still nearly 1 in 3.

I think it’s mind-boggling that this isn’t attracting more attention. If the quality of one-in-three schools or one-in-three cars or one-in-three airplanes was rated ‘inadequate’ the media would be clamouring for action. But, with the exception of the odd reference in the trade press, this story seems to be attracting very little interest.

Bizarrely not even Ofsted seems to be much concerned. If I were inspecting a service operation where 30%+ of the process was identified as being seriously below acceptable standards, I would be running off to my bosses clutching my reports and telling them that they must act urgently.

But Ofsted appears to have buried the aggregate picture in a mire of facts and figures, such as the difficult-to-find document published in January 2013 which provides a brief statistical summary of the inspections conducted in the second half of 2012.