Ofsted’s plans to introduce rigorous new inspections of children’s services should be postponed for a year to allow significant amendments, council chiefs have urged.
Solace has written to John Goldup, social care director at the watchdog, calling for a “pause” in plans for the tough new checks.
Under the new system, due to begin next month, councils will be inspected alongside other local public services, such as police and health. There will also be two separate sets of inspections: one for services for looked-after children and another for child protection services.
But Mark Rogers, chief executive of Solihull MBC and Solace’s lead on children’s services, told LGC a one-year delay was needed.
He said the system of placing councils into one of four bands - inadequate, adequate, good or outstanding - should be scrapped and replaced with a single judgment on whether children were safe in an area. This should be accompanied by a more detailed “narrative” about the strengths and weaknesses in an area, he said.
Solace has also called for child protection and looked-after children’s services to be inspected together. “Separating them is a false distinction,” Mr Rogers said.
Solace is also set to call for the abolition of Ofsted’s controversial plans to inspect councils’ school improvement services.
“We can’t see a need for the inspections at all,” Mr Rogers said. “They assume councils are still providing the services they were back in 2009.”