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Ofsted DWP Consultation

Welfare to Work providers have currently had to interpret the Ofsted FE & Skills guidance for inspection to work out what approach Ofsted would take with DWP provision, but at last we have a DWP proposal for Contracted Employment Provision (CEP).

Don't get excited - the Common Inspection Framework is the same, it's the approach to inspection that Ofsted are consulting on.  We've had a look through the proposal and highlighted key differences to FE & Skills.  There aren't many:

  • CEP contracts would be inspected at least every four years.  There is no facility for high-performing providers as under the FE & Skills agenda to have up to six years between inspections.  
  • The reinspection (partial or full) and monitoring visit arrangements are the same as for FE & Skills.
  • A focused monitoring visit may be carried out within 12 months of the contract starting to inform the timing and type of subsequent inspections.
  • A sample of provision would be inspected, aiming to represent each CEP contract offered by the provider. Ofsted recognise that some providers have multiple contracts that cover large geographical areas so it may be impractical to bring all of these together in one inspection.
  • Survey visits are mentioned but appear less likely than in FE & Skills with a vague reference to including “good practices themes linked to national areas for development and issues arising from HMCI’s annual report”.

The areas considered in the risk assessment to decide when to inspect providers is slightly different to FE & Skills.  To us they appear more specifc although we fail to see where they may get some of the information such as participant views:

  • information from the previous inspection – where available
  • analysis of the self-assessment report
  • numbers of participants who gain sustained employment
  • performance against contract targets
  • outcomes from the Star Rating
  • findings from the provider assurance visits (ex FAM) carried out by DWP
  • participants’ views
  • trend data over the last three years
  • findings from Ofsted survey visits
  • how long the provider or contract has been established
  • any significant changes to the type, location and mix of provision or to participant numbers.

Ofsted intend to pilot the arrangements in the coming months to develop the methodology.

Full details of the proposal and the consultation can be found on the Ofsted website.  Make sure if you have a view, that you have your say.  You have until 29 January 2010 to respond.


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