This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.


| 2 minutes read

Changes to Ofsted’s post-inspection arrangements and complaints handling

Following the tragic death of Ruth Perry, Ofsted commenced a consultation, proposing to change its post-inspection arrangements. Ofsted has now announced that it will be taking all four of its proposals forward. 

The proposals will not only change the way that Ofsted deals with schools and children’s services following an inspection, including how complaints are handled, but will also introduce additional opportunities for quick communication and the earlier resolution of issues. 

This is what we know so far…

Proposal 1: Enhance on-site professional dialogue during inspections to help address any issues - To ensure providers can address any queries or concerns, inspectors will check in with providers where appropriate during the pre-inspection notification call, when the inspector arrives, at the end-of-day meetings and/or at the final feedback session.

Some providers were concerned that where there is inconsistency in the inspection process, it can be difficult to challenge the views of an inspector. Ofsted has confirmed it will be producing guidance for inspectors emphasising the importance of discussions and professional dialogue.

Proposal 2: Introduce a new opportunity for providers to contact Ofsted - Providers will be able to call Ofsted on the day after the end of an inspection, to discuss any unresolved issues including concerns about the inspection process, the likely outcome, queries on the next steps, and/information they feel was not fully considered.

In response to providers’ concerns that issues raised may not be considered impartially, Ofsted has confirmed that any discussions would be with a member of Ofsted independent of the inspection.

Proposal 3: Introduce new arrangements for finalising reports and considering formal challenges to inspection outcomes – Upon receipt of a draft inspection report, providers will be given the option either to (1) highlight minor issues of factual accuracy they consider need be to be addressed or (2) submit a formal complaint. This option would involve a review of the findings to be carried out by a member of Ofsted who is independent from the inspection, prior to the publication of the report.  

Ofsted has made it clear that if option (1) is used, providers will not then be able to pursue option (2), which many providers expressed concerns about. Ofsted will be providing further clarification of the new policy in due course.

Proposal 4: Direct escalation to the Independent Complaints Adjudication Service for Ofsted (ICASO) and adding a periodic review of closed complaints using external representatives from the sectors Ofsted inspect – This will remove the current internal review step in the complaints process, meaning where a complainant is concerned that Ofsted has not correctly followed the complaints handling process, the complaint can be raised directly with ICASO. Periodic reviews of closed complaints by a panel of external reviewers will be conducted to assess how complaints have been handled.

Some providers were concerned that ICASO’s role is to review whether the complaints process was carried out properly and that it will not provide an effective review of failures in the inspection itself. This concern does not appear to have been addressed by Ofsted. 

Separately, and effective as of September 2023, Ofsted announced that where a school that would otherwise be rated good or outstanding, is rated inadequate because of ineffective safeguarding, inspectors will return within three months to carry out a monitoring inspection. If the school has dealt with those issues, a new inspection report will be issued ensuring the inadequate rating can be rapidly reviewed.

Ofsted has confirmed that from January 2024, proposals 1 and 2 will be put in place with proposals 3 and 4 following in April 2024. While concerns remain about how effective these changes will be, providers will need to consider carefully how they can use the updated processes to challenge unfair inspections and outcomes.   

For more advice, please contact a member of the regulatory team.


ofsted inspection, regulatory, schools, inspections, children services, education, health and social care, ofsted