Ofsted to advise on youth inspections

By Neil Puffett

| 07 November 2012

Efforts to enable young people to audit local authority youth services are to be supported by Ofsted and the British Youth Council (BYC), it has been confirmed.

Ofsted will help the British Youth Council draw up guidance on youth-led audits. Image: Phil Adams

Plans to allow young people to inspect the local services that they use were outlined in the government’s Positive for Youth document last December.

Department for Education guidance on sufficiency in youth services, published in July, called on local authorities to “enable young people to inspect at least annually on the quality and accessibility of provision”. But detail on how this will work in practice is yet to be finalised.

James Cathcart, chief executive of the BYC, told CYP Now that his organisation is planning to spearhead the creation of guidelines for local authorities, with the help of Ofsted, which will provide advice to help achieve “consistency and fairness” in youth scrutiny across different areas.

“There is a real danger there will be 154 variations of what an audit is,” Cathcart said. “We want to start a process that puts detail around the sufficiency guidance – a good practice guide for local authorities and young people on what a scrutiny audit should look like.

“Ofsted is going to work with us to make sure it is credible and stands up to external scrutiny.”

BYC will work with several local authorities over the coming months to examine different models of youth auditing, and create a standard for others to refer to. The organisation hopes to have something in place to support inspections from 2013/14.

Tony Gallagher, national adviser on youth support for Ofsted, said: “This is an example of Ofsted working with the youth sector to improve provision. We will be working with BYC to help them develop their own tools.”

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