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Paid-for re-inspection discussions to be revisited, government confirms

The Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted will revisit joint discussions on the issue of paid-for re-inspections next year, the government has confirmed in its response to the Cutting red tape review.
The move is in response to concerns raised during the review about “having to wait too long for re-inspections when given a ‘satisfactory’ rating and the negative impact this has on a provider’s ability to attract new clients”.
Although the right for providers to request an Ofsted inspection visit was legislated for in 2014 as part of the Children and Families Act, this change still has not come into effect in practice.
The Cutting red tape review also highlighted a number of other sector concerns, including inconsistency with inspections and between inspectors, excess paperwork, frequently changing guidance, training requirements confusion and the impact of Level 3 GCSE requirements.
In response, the government is planning to take a number of steps, including:
  • Developing a ‘myth-buster’ document to communicate and clarify the essential requirements for inspections; publicise, to be published by April 2017
  • Revising the current statutory guidance to clarify the regulatory requirements upon local authorities, including what additional conditionality can and cannot be included in provider agreements, by March 2017
  • Providing more clarity on the statutory training requirements
  • Improving the notice period for updating guidance for early years in line with schools and providing at least a least a term’s notice of change, aspiring to one year’s notice as the standard by September 2018
“The findings of this report indicate that there are areas that can be improved. The government will introduce further improvements to the regulatory process in response to the points raised in this report and as part of the introduction of the 30-hour childcare offer,” the report states.“This report highlights a number of areas where we believe that further action could be taken in the short, medium and long term to reduce unnecessary burdens and deliver substantial benefits and cost savings to the sector.”
The review’s call for evidence was open from 3 April to 20 May 2016 and received around 250 responses.