Local partner agencies - including local authorities, health and probation services and the police - are to be put under the spotlight with a new set of inspections examining how they are working together to protect children living with, or at risk of, neglect.
According to the government, the series of six joint targeted area inspections (JTAI) will begin this month (May) and will involve Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), HMI Constabulary and HMI Probation.
The JTAI will assess and analyse how effectively agencies are working together in their local area to help and protect children at risk.
Each set of joint inspections will also evaluate the multi-agency response to a particular issue or theme.
Depending on feedback from key stakeholders, the four bodies will decide that the latest series of JTAI should look at local support services for children living with neglect.
Specifically, the inspections will focus on the experiences of children aged between seven and 15-years old, who may be at greater risk of going missing or being exploited, or who exhibit challenging behaviours in adolescence.
HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman commented: “Identifying signs of neglect in middle childhood and adolescence can be very complex, as children at this age experience and respond to neglect differently from younger children. However, at any age, the impact of childhood neglect can be lifelong.
“It’s crucial that local partner agencies understand the long-term effects of neglect and recognise the need for early and appropriate intervention.”
He went on to explain that the inspections will provide valuable insight into the local areas response to neglect, highlighting good practice that others can learn from.
As a new addition, for these JTAI, inspectors will also speak to school leaders and staff to ensure theyhave a broad picture of how neglect is identified and referred.