A consultation paper on the principles which should underlie the commission's new best value inspection powers suggests it is anxious to avoid the atmosphere of suspicion and hostility which has built up in education since the creation of Ofsted.
Director of audit support Paul Vevers said: 'The tone of inspection is obviously the issue local government is most concerned about. We are absolutely clear we will be uncompromising about failure but . . . people are more likely to implement change if they have some sense of ownership.'
He said inspectors would 'share their findings as they emerge, they will not be trying to put [councils] on the back foot'.
But Mr Vevers stressed that inspectors would not pull their punches. The proposed principles state: 'A critical issue is that inspectors should speak as they find.'