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Government legislates to end Ofsted’s annual assessment of Children’s Services

Draft order laid before Parliament

The Government has laid the draft Legislative Reform (Annual Review of Local Authorities) Order before Parliament.  If approved by Parliament, the Order will effect the repeal of the legislation requiring annual children's services assessments to be conducted – that is, section 138 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 – before Parliament breaks for summer recess on 17 July.

Tim Loughton, the Children and Families Minister, announced in December 2010 the Government's intention to remove the requirement on Ofsted to conduct annual assessments of local authority children's services, "as soon as a suitable legislative opportunity can be identified".

Ofsted currently carries out a review every year of the overall performance of each local authority in England as regards the delivery of children's services.  It then awards each authority a performance rating in respect of the matters reviewed.

The Department for Education says that across local authorities there has been a concern that the children's services assessment is essentially a bureaucratic exercise that adds little understanding of children's services in an area over and above the individual inspections that underlie it.  Government sees it as making little contribution to driving service improvement.  Ending the annual children's services assessment will create cost savings to Ofsted of approximately £1.6 million per year.