Ofsted drops brought-forward complaints inspections

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Ofsted has confirmed that it will no longer bring forward full inspections when a complaint is made against a provider.


Ofsted has made changes to its complaint-driven inspection process

The move follows a four-week trial by Ofsted in May in which the inspectorate either carried out an urgent inspection when it received a complaint, or wrote to the provider to tell them that they would follow up the complaint during their next scheduled inspection.

Previously, if a concern or complaint raised against an early years provider prompted a compliance investigation, Ofsted would carry out a priority inspection within five working days, or a brought-forward inspection within 30 days.

The inspectorate has now confirmed that it will be removing the brought-forward option.

The Pre-School Learning Alliance (PLA) has welcomed the news.

Its chief executive Neil Leitch said, ‘Following the introduction of complaint-driven inspections, reports of providers being subjected to repeated malicious and spurious complaints became increasingly common, and it was clear that action needed to be taken to try to

‘We believe that this change is a far more sensible and proportionate way to deal with complaints which will create a fairer system for providers while ensuring that children’s safety and well-being remains a priority.

‘It is very encouraging to see that Ofsted has listened and responded to provider concerns on this issue, and we hope that this collaborative approach will continue on other areas of proposed reform.’

  • For more information about changes to early years inspections, see Ofsted early years director Nick Hudson’s comment piece.
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