Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have been conducting inspections of SEND provision in Local Authorities across the country since May 2016. 72 reviews have been carried out to date, and in 34 cases – nearly half – inspectors have identified “serious concerns”, requiring those local areas to produce a written statement of action (WSoA) to detail how they would address “significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice”.

In November 2018, the Department for Education announced a programme of revisits to the local areas which have been asked to produce a WSoA. The revisits programme is due to start in December 2018 and will run alongside the current programme of local area SEND inspections, which is in place until 2021. The revisits are not a re-inspection, but will focus on the progress made since the original inspection.

Revisits will allow Ofsted and the CQC to assess the progress which local areas have made against each of the actions in their WSoA. They are also intended to provide additional reassurance to families on the progress local services are making, identify where further work is needed, and identify any improvements made to SEND services and in delivering better outcomes for children and young people.

Local areas will usually be revisited within 18 months of their WSoA having been accepted as fit for purpose by Ofsted and CQC. The local area will receive 10 days’ notification of the revisit, which will last between 2-4 days, depending on the number of actions in the WSoA. A report will be published on the Ofsted and CQC websites, usually 33 days after the inspectors have finished the revisit. It will set out whether the local area has made sufficient progress against each area of the WSoA.

Where a local area is considered to have made sufficient progress against its WSoA, monitoring visits from the DfE and NHS England will cease. DfE and NHS England will determine on a case by case basis the next steps for any local areas that have made insufficient progress. This may include the Secretary of State using his powers of intervention.

The methodology for the revisits can be found on the Ofsted website, and will be included in the local area SEND inspection handbook in spring 2019.