Ofsted ensures that quality of care will remain at a high standard despite the fact new settings are going to be inspected 30 months after opening rather than 7. There have however, been concerns raised about the way this decision will have detrimental effects on the quality of care.
If there was not a full registration, Ofsted used to allow inspectors to give registrations that had conditions or actions that would be put in place. Inspectors would attend a registration visit in which they would identify whether there were any issues. Ofsted would then carry out a post-registration inspection to make sure these conditions have been met.
What then changed in 2012?
During registration visits, Ofsted would decide whether a practice is ready to look after children, or not. If they decided that they were not, their registration would be withdrawn or refused. If the practice was deemed ready, the inspection would take place. However, from September 2012, Ofsted removed the conditions and stopped setting actions. Post-registration requirements were then also removed. Time was needed for the new arrangements to settle in and then post-registration inspections were removed.
What has changed recently?
The decision to change the post-registration inspection from 7 months to 30 was based on evidence from september 2012 of how it would impact. Firstly, before these changes were put in place 73% of childminders were considered good or outstanding, and after these changes this number had risen to 79%. Secondly, if the registration visit decided they were not suitable to care for children, many practices withdrew applications. Thirdly, the year after these changes the proportion of applicants who were refused registration fell by almost 4%.
What other safeguards are there?
If there is any doubt about the quality of a practice then Ofsted have a risk assessment process in place which allows an inspection on the same day, or within 7 days, depending on the severity of the case. Whether the safeguarding concerns are serious or not, all cases are referred to the statutory child protection authorities. New practices have to be discussed with local authorities in order to get a broader understanding and knowledge compared to previously. the registration system also shows whether previously-registered individuals are creating new applications.