Latest News Coronavirus: Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (“LGSCO”) complaints, Ofsted and local area SEND Inspections Updated 05.08.2020 Local government and Social Care Ombudsman (“LGSCO”) complaints The LGSCO, which considers complaints about local authorities’ (“LA”) ‘maladministration leading to injustice’, re-opened to new complaints and restarted work on existing complaints on 29 June 2020. The LGSCO helpline (0300 061 0614) remains open between 9am and 12 noon. The LGSCO urges anyone making a new complaint to use its online complaint form if possible and reserve the helpline for people in need of help accessing its online service. The LGSCO will contact people who have existing complaints with updates. If you have already complained to the LGSCO and need to contact them, you should use the details of your named contact. If your complaint involves COVID-19, please see the LGSCO factsheet on how they will investigate it. This includes the following helpful statement: “We will expect councils and care providers to have acted within law and guidance unless there were clear, compelling, and relevant reasons to do something else. We will expect appropriate record keeping, delegation, decision making, and other principles of good administrative practice, appropriate for operation during a crisis.” For urgent issues, you should contact your LA or care provider. Ofsted and local area SEND inspections The Government has issued notices suspending Ofsted’s duty to conduct routine inspections of maintained schools and academies. The same notice suspends LA’s and academy trust’s duties to prepare a statement of action within a set timescale for schools requiring special measures or significant improvement. The latest notice suspends these duties until 31 August 2020. From September 2020: Early years providers: Ofsted will begin regulatory activity in providers judged as inadequate or requiring improvement. Maintained schools and academies: Ofsted inspectors will visit all inadequate schools and a sample of other state-funded schools to discuss how they are supporting pupils’ return to school. A brief letter will be published after these visits, not a full inspection report. Further education providers: Ofsted will carry out an additional monitoring visit to new providers that have one or more existing ‘insufficient progress’ judgements and that would have been due a full inspection up to and during this interim period. Independent schools: Ofsted will provide targeted oversight of independent schools, prioritising safeguarding, and undertake inspections commissioned by the Department for Education where appropriate. The above visits are not formal inspections. Therefore, they will not result in a published inspection report or grade. Ofsted plans to restart formal inspections in January 2021. It has not been confirmed when local area SEND inspections are intended to restart. You can find more information on Ofsted’s phased return to inspections and what the above visits will and will not cover in this guidance. Local area SEND arrangements: From the 2020 autumn term, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) will visit a sample of local areas. These visits will focus on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on children and young people with SEND and supporting local areas to strategically prioritise their needs. These visits will not be inspections. It has not been confirmed when local area SEND inspections are intended to restart. You can find more information on Ofsted’s phased return to inspections and what the above visits will and will not cover in this guidance.