New guidelines set out by the Department of Education will now include the ability to perform random and unannounced checks on any agency that is responsible for children in care. The main objectives of these random spot checks is not to put the running of the agency at risk but to look at how the agency works to help identify and protect children who may be at risk from harm.
The current level of spot checks carried out by OFSTED can only examine the performance of the local authority. Other important factors such as health, probation and policing are not currently within OFSTED regulations. The plan is for these new guidelines to be implemented from June 2013.
Additionally OFSTED has also proposed changes to its own inspection criteria for looked after children. This would help to make OFSTEDs 3 separate inspections for looked after children’s services, local authority adoption agencies and local authority fostering agencies more stream lined and in turn helping all those involved in working with children in care. Deputy chief of the Fostering Network has welcomed the changes to help make the whole process for children in care better and more professional for all.