Ofsted’s safeguarding policy outlines:
- Ofsted’s strategic direction – which is underpinned by putting children first, having independence and ensuring accountability and transparency.
- The definition of safeguarding.
- The expectations of staff and inspectors.
- How safeguarding impacts recruitment.
- How Ofsted staff should act on safeguarding concerns.
- The training Ofsted staff will undertake to ensure effective practice.
What are the key definitions?
Safeguarding and promoting children and young people’s welfare means:
- Protecting children from maltreatment.
- Preventing impairment of children’s health or development.
- Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
- Acting to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Safeguarding vulnerable adults includes:
- Protecting the rights of adults to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
- People and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect.
- People and organisations making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, taking fully into account their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action.
- Recognising that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances and therefore potential risks to their safety or wellbeing.
What are Ofsted employees responsible for?
- Familiarising themselves with the ‘Ofsted safeguarding policy’ and its procedures.
- Maintaining a proper focus on the safety and welfare of children and vulnerable adults.
- Informing their manager if they, or any adult living in their house, becomes the subject of an enquiry
What about safer recruitment and Ofsted employees?
- Ofsted's policy outlines that safe recruitment checks are carried out on everyone who works for them.
- Roles available at Ofsted require a DBS check and references before employment.
- Often, individuals (including inspectors) are subject to an enhanced DBS check as well as a check of their social media, as their role may bring them into regular contact with children and vulnerable adults.
- All candidates need to show an understanding of safeguarding that is relevant to the role that they are applying for.
- Additionally, all Ofsted’s staff and contracted inspectors have to complete an online safeguarding training package within three months of their employment and at three-year intervals after that.
How does Ofsted act on safeguarding concerns?
- Ofsted employees should not investigate concerns about individual children or vulnerable adults who are, or may be, being abused or who are at risk.
- If an Ofsted employee has a concern, they will refer the concern to the children’s social care department of the LA where the child lives. Similarly, concerns regarding vulnerable adults will be referred to the LA adult services.
How does Ofsted promise to learn and improve?
- Maintaining a sound knowledge of safeguarding procedures is vital to ensure children and vulnerable adults are protected effectively.
- In their policy, Ofsted promises to review their own practices regularly to check that they are placing the correct emphasis on safeguarding in their work.
- Ofsted will carry out thorough reviews of their actions in cases where children suffer serious harm while under the care of providers that they regularly inspect.
- The main purpose of regularly reviewing practices is to learn lessons about when systems need to improve to protect children in the future. Ofsted will also promote a culture where they are able to highlight and review near misses, learning and improving the practices from this.
- Send this article to your governing board and SLT to ensure they understand Ofsted’s safeguarding policy.
- Ensure your safeguarding procedures are ready for Ofsted inspection by downloading our Ofsted and…Safeguarding Documentation article.
- Download a comprehensive and compliant Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy to ensure effective and consistent practice across the school.
Ofsted (2018) ‘Ofsted safeguarding policy’ <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ofsted-safeguarding-policy/ofsted-safeguarding-policy> [Accessed: 27 September 2018]