Public and Commercial Services Union
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Ofsted unions condemn plans to privatise inspections

PCS, UNISON and the FDA have today (3 September) condemned plans by Ofsted to privatise early education and childcare inspections and have called for a re-think.

Early education and childcare inspectors working for Ofsted ensure standards across nurseries, summer play schemes, pre-schools and childminding services.

The privatisation plans come at the same time as a long running pay dispute in Ofsted over the imposition of a divisive new pay structure and a below inflation pay settlement. Some members of staff have been asked to take a three-year pay freeze.


Neil March, PCS negotiations officer said:: "Outsourcing such a sensitive area as early years inspections will lead to corners being cut and a loss of expertise.

"Introducing the profit motive into inspections, combined with the naive belief that the so called market holds all the answers will end in failure and further demoralise dedicated staff.

"Ofsted recognise that staff morale is low and should be taking steps to address it by tackling below inflation pay rather than appearing to wash their hands of staff by looking to outsource their work."

 

"Ofsted recognise that staff morale is low and should be taking steps to address it by tackling below inflation pay rather than appearing to wash their hands of staff by looking to outsource their work."

Commenting on the plans, Jon Richards, UNISON Senior National Officer for Ofsted, said: "Early Years inspectors working for Ofsted are charged with ensuring that every child gets the best start in life.

"This is a vital job, and parents deserve the reassurance of knowing that inspections are done by an independent, reliable and publicly accountable body of staff. This will
be severely compromised if inspections are carried out by a private, profit driven company.

"Ofsted claims it wants to create a single inspections service, yet also wants to privatise a large section of the workforce. How does this fit with government agenda of closer working across the schools and childrens
workforce?

"As an organisation, Ofsted is already understaffed, yet these proposals also seek to cut staff. UNISON is also concerned that the workers being lined up for sale are those that are taking equal pay claims out against the
employer."

Carolyn Thompson, Trade union side Secretary for Ofsted, said: ³Early education and childcare inspectors working in Ofsted are feeling de-motivated and undervalued, but this is due to the poor treatment they have received at the hands of their employers.

"Whilst school inspectors have had their already higher pay rates boosted, some early years inspectors have
been offered a three-year pay freeze.

"Ofsted would be better served by resolving these issues rather than handing early years inspections over to a private company.

"Surely it can come as no surprise that the review that led to the proposals by a private company (McKinsey) has led to recommendations for privatisation."

A representative of the FDA commenting on the plans said: "Whilst we understand the need for restructuring, FDA is opposed to outsourcing which will lead to a loss of expertise from the organisation. Privatisation is not
the best way to build and sustain a team of talented, experienced and dedicated inspectors."

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