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Council criticised over file tampering

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Rochdale Borough Council has defended itself over a damning report that accuses its youth offending team of tampering with case files.

The Probation Inspectorate has refused to sign off its report after it found staff had made last-minute changes that “misrepresented” their work.

Amidst “clear evidence of antedating”, inspectors refused to publish headline scores because they had “insufficient confidence in the quality of the evidence in the case records of the work done”.

While not directly accusing management of ordering staff to alter the files, the inspectors said they did not stop it happening “at the very least”.

The report says: “We found that in half of the 40 cases there had been late access to the case records immediately prior to our visit, and in at least six of those cases there is no doubt in our minds that the clear antedating of assessments constituted, in effect, misrepresentation of the work actually done at the time.”

Says Terry Piggott, head of the council’s children and young people’s services: “Inspection is often about finding how you can do things better, and indeed there are ways in which we can and will improve.

“There were certainly no instances where anyone tried to pretend something was done when it was not.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Thing is though, the inspectors don't understand that this is a consequence of inspection.

    Lots of other teams cheat all over the place to meet government inspection targets and standards. These guys were just unlucky and got caught out.

    The inspectors don't understand that they are part of the problem. Everybody is facing their way, and they form the centre of the universe. But they claim what they find improves services whereas in reality it damages learning.

    Inspection is a blunt and costly tool that never works well if you want an improving services.

    However, if you want to make organisations follow central diktats it is perfect. It makes politicians seem like they are in control and everybody is doing the same thing.

    Of course doing the same thing, damages any possibility of improvement, unless of course, it is sanction by the centre and by the inspection regime.

    And then you come back to the point, that what they inspect will be their own view of the world.

    And for £200,000,000 per annum that's a lot of damage for very little sausage or sizzle.

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