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"challenging but fair” - the new inspection regime for children's services

11 April 2018

The recent introduction of the new Inspections of Local Authority Children’s Services (ILACS) system has been met with some trepidation from the sector.

Previously, under the single inspection framework, almost one in five children’s services were rated inadequate and there was criticism that the bar was too high. Impower researches note that under ILACS, increased inspections for local authorities that need improvement, annual self-evaluations and annual meetings with Ofsted could lead to “a catastrophic spiralling effect” of high staff turnover, low morale and increased workloads.

Yet Ofsted argue that ILACS means more frequent opportunities to identify issues of concern. In addition, it is reported that areas taking part in the pilots have said that this approach is “challenging but fair.

This new inspection scheme could lead to local authorities being overworked and over criticised yet might give the authorities the boost they need to help solve any issues within the care system. We suspect the likely trajectory will depend on the starting point for each council. For now – only time will tell.

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Children Act 1989 – Section 20 and consent

The Supreme Court decision in Williams and another v Borough of Hackney [2018] UKSC 37 was an example of the local authority getting Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 right.

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