The above consultation has been released by Ofsted in conjunction with the CQC, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons, Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), Probation Inspectorate and the Inspectorate of Constabulary.

The inspectorates intend to bring new inspections in by June 2013. The consultation document sets out proposals for a joint inspectorate universal programme of unannounced inspections of the arrangements to protect children. It is intended that these inspections will give full consideration to the effectiveness of the contributions of all local services: social care, health, education, police, probation and the criminal justice system, individually and in partnership - to the protection of children.

The main proposals are:  

  • There will be an unannounced joint inspection of the multi-agency arrangements for the protection of children in each local authority area on a three-year cycle
  • Information relating to the quality and effectiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in protecting children and young people through effective liaison between the CPS and other agencies and the quality of decision-making in relation to prosecutions, may trigger inspection activity by HMCPSI
  • Inspections will be contained within a two-week period and there will be a phased approach to the arrival of the inspectors on site to minimise disruption and maximise effectiveness
  • Inspectors will track the experiences of individual children and young people through identifying a shared sample of children and young people which will include observing practice to understand the effectiveness of the help and protection that is given
  • Inspectorates will bring their particular professional expertise to the inspections by focusing on the practice of individual agencies in identifying, responding to, helping and protecting children and young people through their agreed local arrangements
  • There will be one single set of inspection judgements as an outcome of the inspection
  • There will be a single report that identifies the strengths and areas for improvement of the multi-agency response as well as the strengths and weaknesses in individual agencies

The consultation ends on 2 October.