Updated 01.06.2020

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (“LGSCO”), which considers complaints about local authorities’ (“LA”) ‘maladministration leading to injustice’, has suspended accepting new complaints and the majority of casework activity that demands information from, or action by, LAs and care providers until further notice. The LGSCO is now re-starting some existing investigations with LAs who have capacity to work with them (it is unclear which LAs this is). Existing casework with care providers remains suspended. 

Having temporarily suspended its central helpline on 18 March 2020, the LGSCO is currently trialling re-opening its helpline (0300 061 0614) between 10am and 12 noon.  The LGSCO’s website stresses that the purpose of its helpline as “to answer general enquiries about the complaints process and advice on whether [the LGSCO is] the right organisation to help” and for urgent issues you should contact your LA or care provider. For more information, see the LGSCO Coronavirus webpage.

The Government has issued a notice suspending Ofsted’s duty to conduct routine school inspections of maintained schools and academies. The same notice suspends LA’s and academy trust’s duty to prepare a statement of action within a set timescale for schools requiring special measures or significant improvement.  The notice suspends these duties until 30 June 2020. However, further notices extending the suspension of these duties could be issued.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission’s (“CQC”)joint routine inspections of SEND provision in LAs have also been suspended. Emergency inspections where specific concerns have been raised are still going ahead.

Ofsted has redeployed staff to support LAs, social care providers, various government departments and the NHS in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, Ofsted is focusing its regulatory activity and urgent monitoring visits on early years, childcare and children’s social care providers inspected under the social care common inspection framework (SCCIF). More information on how Ofsted is currently working is available on its website.  Parents can still submit views in relation to their child’s setting via Ofsted’s online form and we have information on complaining to Ofsted here.