Ofsted: Haringey didn't tell us the truth

I read front page in the Guardian yesterday that Christine Gilbert, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, has come out publicly to say that Ofsted were lied to by officers in Haringey in terms of the information they provided when they inspected Haringey. Result – Ofsted gave Haringey three stars just weeks after Baby P’s death.

Well – I’m glad she said it. I’ve no doubt Haringey did present inaccurate information and was trying to pull the wool over Ofsted’s eyes – given they wanted three stars because the government hoops they have to jump through mean resources, money and political advantage all come from three stars.

However, as neatly as Ofsted wishes to put all the blame on Haringey, I would just like to point out the feebleness of that as an excuse for an inspection regime. Ed Balls has now moved to say basically these interim inspections are useless and Ofsted must do face-to-face inspections annually. But what on earth confidence can we have in any inspection regime given this failure? Surely the questions and examinations have to go deeper.

And last but not least in this dishonourable performance management system is the Government itself who set it up. Ed Balls is only too willing to look at the narrow focus of the social work and systems end – but not really so far said anything about the Government’s part in this devastating failure. It is the Labour Government who set up a performance management system with targets, tick boxes and gold stars on inspection. What bigger perverse incentive can you have in a rotten borough then to be allowed to present false information to achieve a false status? Come on Ed – look at your own part in all of this.

And today, news has broken that Ed Balls and Alan Johnson are launching a task force to change the practice, spread best practise and look at training of social workers. Yes – some of things are suggested may well be good so no problem with that or the task force – but the focus is still narrow. We need a proper public inquiry to look at all the issues that are much wider than just what happens in the departments themselves. As before – even the Government system of performance management is called into question.

0 thoughts on “Ofsted: Haringey didn't tell us the truth

  1. I agree that it’s a bit of a lame excuse by OFSTED. Desk-based inspections make a mockery of the system. I work in adult social work and although I know progress is necessary, spot-checks by the old Social Services Inspectorate (RIP) seemed much more thorough. The only way good inspections can be carried out is if staff are in place in the inspectorates who know what they should be doing. Again, I don’t know what it’s like specifically for OFSTED because I work in Adult Services but our Inspection Officers dropped the need to have any kind of professional qualification a few years ago. The criteria that are ‘inspected’ are also very clearly driving policy when good quality social work really does need to be person/family driven, rather than target driven. I hope that Ed Balls and Alan Johnson actually listen to social workers who care about their profession and most importantly, those who are working in the front line and not those who have been promoted away from casework or who have moved entirely into desk-based jobs. That’s where the solutions will be found. As for the discussion this morning on the News about social work training needing to be more hands-on.. well, nothing new. If Ed Balls actually knew what was going on where practically every university in the country that teaches Social Work is desperate for practice placements but that practising social workers are pushed so hard they can’t actually take on students, then maybe he’d realise that he isn’t saying anything that will come as news to anyone in Social Work.

  2. You have done such a good job on this issue that it shames those who allowed it to happen. If it were not for you and others who bring the arrogant bureaucrats to heel we would have an alphabet of Baby A, B, C, D ….

  3. Wasn’t that exactly the same excuse used by the people who visited the house in that they were lied to?? Unbelievable.

  4. While the most disturbing aspect of this case is the torture murder of the baby, there has to be a widespread sense of public disquiet at the scale of lying and secrecy.

  5. Dear Lynne,By now I have got most of the answeres. However, I would still be interested to know what exactly happened to Micheal Dinsdale who was another director of Voelcker & Sons Ltd. Also if the corporation John Laing still exists? If I get some idea, I might be able to work out what exactly happening. Once I have collected some sort of update, I might go and see Cllr Jeremy Davies or Cllr Wayne Casey. Many thanks,Yours sincerely,Deepak Mukejee

  6. The problem with Ofsted is that like all public services is that they create a culture in which everyone works to the lowest standard – in order to demonstrate that they are working to the highest standard.A friend who is a teacher told me about a scam their school runs when being inspected.If the children know the answer to a question, they raise their right hand. If they don’t know the answer they raise their left hand. All the children are expected to raise their hands.The teacher then picks a child with their right hand rasied to answer the question and demonstrate learning. And the school gets a good report because the children are deemed to be enthusiatic at answering questions, and the teacher gets a good mark for the quality of the teaching.And this is only one of the scams I was told about.