ILACS Inspection: Guidance for professionals
What is the ILACS framework
Ofsted adopt a framework for inspecting local authority services for children in need of help and protection, children in care and care leavers. The framework, Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services (ILACS), is available from the Ofsted website. In line with previous inspections, the framework focuses on the effectiveness of local authority services and arrangements for:
- the help and protection of children
- the experiences and progress of children in care wherever they live, including those children who return home
- the arrangements for permanence for children who are looked after, including adoption
- the experiences and progress of care leavers
There is also a refocused attention on assessing the effectiveness of leadership and management and the impact this has on the lives of children and the quality of practice.
What is the ILACS inspection system
Ofsted describes the ILACS approach as a whole system of inspection which aims to apply a proportionate and risk based approach. Ofsted use intelligence and information to decide how best to inspect each local authority. The system comprises the following:
- local authorities sharing an annual self-evaluation of the quality and impact of social work practice and any plans to maintain or improve quality
- an annual engagement meeting between a regional Ofsted representative and the local authority which reviews the self-assessment
- Ofsted’s local authority interactive tool (LAIT) comprising data and information
- focused visits that look at a specific area of service or cohort of children.
- standard inspections for local authorities judged to require improvement and short inspections for local authorities judged to be good or outstanding. Timing will usually be between six months before and six months after the three year anniversary of the previous inspection.
- joint targeted area inspection (JTAI) – multi-agency inspections on changing themes.