The Secretary of State has allowed Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector to temporarily suspend all routine inspections of schools, further education, early years and social care providers.
Urgent inspections where specific concerns have been raised can still go ahead. This will allow us to prioritise the immediate safety of children where necessary.
As far as we are able, we will continue to undertake our important regulatory work to help maintain social care provision for the most vulnerable children, and the registration of vital childcare services. We will operate as a proportionate and responsible regulator, in what we know are challenging times, focused on children’s safeguarding and well-being.
All of our Ofsted Inspectors – those serving headteachers who undertake inspections on our behalf – have returned to their schools. We are in daily contact with the Department for Education to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact across education and social care.
Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, said:
‘I’m grateful for the Secretary of State’s permission to suspend routine inspections. It’s clearly the right thing to do when teachers and social workers are under pressure as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. We all need to support them in their work.
‘We will monitor what’s happening across education and social care and we will reserve the right to inspect where we believe the safety of children could be at risk, or we have other serious concerns.
‘We will also continue to register and regulate social care providers, childminders and nurseries so that these vital services can continue to support children and their families.’
A spokesman for the CQC said, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the watchdog’s primary objective will be to support providers to keep people safe during a period of unprecedented pressure on the health and care system.
The spokesman said the CQC will be helping with the wider national response by seconding staff and clinically qualified special advisors to the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and NHS England.
While the customer contact centre will start taking non-clinical COVID-19 calls from next week in support of 111.
Ian Trenholm, chief executive of CQC, said, where necessary, the watchdog will use its inspection powers in cases when there is clear evidence of harm, such as allegations of abuse.
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