Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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New series of joint inspections to focus on domestic abuse

New inspections to examine partnership working with a focus on domestic abuse.

Joint inspections are to examine how local partners, including local authorities, police and probation, and health services, work together to protect children living with domestic abuse.

The series of 6 joint targeted area inspections (JTAI) will be carried out by inspectorates Ofsted, Care Quality Commission, HMI Constabulary and HMI Probation from September this year.

JTAI examine how well agencies are working together in a local area to help and protect children. Each set of joint inspections includes a ‘deep dive’ focus, looking at a particular issue by theme.

With input from key stakeholders, the 4 inspectorates have decided that the next set of JTAI will examine the multi-agency response to children affected by domestic abuse. This will include children who are living where there are incidents of domestic abuse, or where there is a risk of domestic abuse taking place. Guidance published today sets out how the inspections will work in practice.

Inspectors will evaluate the effectiveness of interventions for victims of domestic abuse and adult perpetrators, and the impact this has on the welfare and protection of children. In each area, the inspections will look in-depth at individual children’s cases, as well as a wider sample, focusing on particular points in children’s experiences.

The inspection report will include narrative findings that clearly set out what the local partnership and agencies are doing well, and what they need to do to improve. When the inspections are completed, a thematic overview report will be published to highlight the learning more widely.

Eleanor Schooling, Ofsted’s National Director for Social Care, said:

Ofsted’s recent social care annual report highlighted some 320,000 children in need across England, many of whom live in families where domestic abuse is a constant feature. We know the devastating impact this can have on their immediate and future well-being.

This is a very challenging area of work for professionals as they rightly focus on the protection of children, while balancing the rights and needs of victims. This set of joint inspections will provide Ofsted and partner inspectorates with valuable insight into how local areas are working together to help and protect these children. We will identify issues for improvement where we need to, but importantly, we want to highlight good practice from which others can learn.

CQC Chief Inspector of General Practice, Professor Steve Field, said:

Early and robust intervention is critical in protecting those exposed to domestic abuse. These targeted inspections build on the strong foundations laid by our joint safeguarding work that is already underway with our partners. This aims to improve outcomes for extremely vulnerable children and young people.

We hope that this programme will encourage a greater focus on children’s experiences and the hidden child.

HM Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams, said:

This joint targeted area inspection programme is aimed at helping the police and other agencies protect those children living in a home where domestic abuse is taking place, or where they are seeing the effects of domestic abuse on others.

It is crucial that the police are well trained, confident and knowledgeable, and that they understand the impact of domestic abuse. This will help them identify how to help and protect children and to take action to do so.

Through these inspections, we hope to see agencies share information and work collaboratively with one another to reduce the harm that domestic abuse can cause.

HM Chief Inspector of Probation, Glenys Stacey, said:

HMI Probation fully supports the focus of the new Joint Target Area Inspections that will examine the quality of work to protect children living with domestic abuse. As part of a multi-inspectorate team we will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions with victims of domestic abuse and adult perpetrators which are designed to help children and make them safer.

Notes to editors:

  1. The new guidance for inspectors is available on the Ofsted website.

  2. Joint targeted area inspections were launched in January 2016. The first series focused on children at risk of sexual exploitation and those missing from home, school or care. A thematic overview report will be published in the autumn, while individual inspection reports are available on the Ofsted website.

  3. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), academies, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

  4. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 03000 130415 or via Ofsted’s enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am – 6.00pm Monday – Friday.

  5. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. It makes sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, caring, well-led and responsive care, and encourages care services to improve. It monitors, inspects and regulates services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and publishes what it finds to help people choose care.

  6. HMIC is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales, together with other major policing bodies.

  7. HMI Probation is an independent inspectorate, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, and reporting directly to the Secretary of State on the effectiveness of work with adults, children and young people who have offended, aimed at reducing reoffending and protecting the public. Further information about the work of HMI Probation is at http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation.

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