Ofsted to implement changes to post-inspection process

Ofsted today announced that it will implement all 4 changes proposed in its recent consultation on post-inspection arrangements and complaints handling

The changes are:

  1. Enhanced on-site professional dialogue during inspections to help address any issues.
  2. A new opportunity for providers to contact Ofsted the day after an inspection if they have unresolved concerns.
  3. New arrangements for finalising reports and considering formal challenges to inspection outcomes.
  4. Direct escalation to the Independent Complaints Adjudication Service for Ofsted (ICASO) and a periodic review of closed complaints using external representatives.

Read the ‘Changes to Ofsted’s post-inspection arrangements and complaints handling’ consultation outcome.

The consultation, which ran from 12 June to 15 September 2023, received over 1,500 responses, an increase of over 150% from the consultation Ofsted ran in 2020 on the same subject. Responses were received from providers in all the sectors that Ofsted inspects and regulates.

There was strong support for all 4 proposals. Over 80% of respondents were in favour of proposals 1,2 and 4, and just under 80% of respondents were in favour of proposal 3.

The proposals will come into effect in 2 phases:

Proposals 1 and 2 will come into effect in January 2024. Ofsted will provide all inspectors with guidance on developing and formalising the enhanced professional dialogue essential for successful inspections. At the same time, Ofsted will let providers know that they can contact Ofsted with any unresolved issues on the working day after the end of the inspection.

Proposals 3 and 4 will come into effect in April 2024. When providers receive their draft report, they will be able to highlight minor points of clarity or factual accuracy, or raise a formal complaint to seek a review of the inspection findings and judgements awarded.

Ofsted will also remove the current internal review step in its complaints process. From April, if complainants are concerned that Ofsted has not correctly followed its complaints-handling process, they will be able to escalate their concerns directly to the ICASO. Ofsted will also introduce the periodic reviews of closed cases at this point.

Ofsted’s Chief inspector, Amanda Spielman said:

"I’m pleased to see the high levels of support for our proposed changes from those working across education and children’s social care. We have also piloted enhanced professional dialogue and allowing providers to contact us the day after the inspection and these worked well.

"I’m confident these changes will help resolve complaints more quickly, reduce the administrative burden on those making a complaint, and increase transparency in the process. I hope they will also help providers feel more comfortable about raising any issues with us."