New series of joint inspections on children's mental health announced

Inspectorates to carry out inspections of children's mental health services

Published on 19th July 2019

Ofsted is to carry out a series of joint inspections focusing on children and young people's mental health, it has emerged.

The inspectorate has published guidance for inspectors for the series of inspections which will begin in September and will look at how local series including local authorities, schools, the police, youth offending teams and health professionals respond to children with mental health problems.

Ofsted’s National Director for Social Care, Yvette Stanley, said: "At a time when local authorities and their health partners are making difficult decisions about resources, it’s important that the needs of children with mental ill health are being met.

"We are all responsible for children’s mental health. We don’t expect frontline practitioners to diagnose conditions, but we do expect them to be able to identify concerns and to know where to turn to for advice and support.

"These inspections will help us to see where children’s mental health needs are being met and where things need to improve," she added.

One in 9 children aged 5 to 15 years old had a mental health problem, according to NHS statistics published last year.

The series of six joint targeted area inspections (JTAI) involving Ofsted, Care Quality Commission (CQC), HMI Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, and HMI Probation will include an evaluation of ‘front door’ services and how agencies are identifying and responding to children with mental health problems.

A deep dive inspection will also be carried out of how agencies assess and support the mental health of children aged 10 to 15 years old who are subject to child in need or child protection plans, or are a looked-after child.

JTAIs look at how effectively agencies are working together in their local area to help and protect children. Each set of joint inspections evaluates the multi-agency response to a particular issue or theme and previous JTAIs have looked at child sexual exploitation, the response to children living with domestic abue and children experincing neglect.

The findings from each inspection are published in a letter to local partnerships, clearly setting out what they are doing well and what they need to do to improve. Once all six inspections are complete, an overview report will be published to highlight learning and good practice on the theme of children living with mental health problems.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: "Through our inspections of youth offending services, we have found support for children and young people with mental health issues to be variable across England and Wales.

"We look forward to working with our partners to identify good and poor practice in this area. We want to ensure troubled children and young people get the support they need to thrive, not just survive," he concluded.


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