We carry out joint inspections with a number of partners. These inspections focus on, for example, services for children and young people, criminal justice social work services and health and social care services for adults and older people. We will inspect delivery across local areas, or we may look at how services are being delivered nationally. This means a number of scrutiny bodies will have a duty to scrutinise elements of the service. It makes sense to inspect these services in a joined-up way.

Strategic inspection teams – quality assurance of notifications during COVID-19

We recognise the challenges faced by services, local authorities and strategic partnerships in working flexibly and responsively to meet the needs of our most vulnerable people in our communities during this global health emergency.  While we are continuing our quality assurance work in relation to deaths of looked after children, initial and significant case reviews, and serious incident reviews, we are committed to minimising demands on partners’ time and resources during this period. 

Notifications of the deaths of looked after children and young people

Please continue to notify us of any deaths of looked after children, young people in continuing care or throughcare/aftercare within the normal 24-hour timeframe. We recognise that it may not be possible to complete your report within the required 28 days and some reports will take longer to submit during the period ahead. Please contact Jackie Deas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or directly on 07810 831438 if you wish to discuss the submission of a report. This applies to local authorities with both new notifications and reports that we are aware are currently being prepared.

Significant case reviews

Child protection committees should continue as normal to notify us of any initial case reviews and forward completed significant case reviews.  We recognise that some significant case reviews may take longer to complete than usual during this period.  If you have any questions about the process, please contact Maureen Wylie, strategic inspector, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

New expectations in respect of significant case reviews (adults), as set out in the Draft framework for APCs for conducting a significant case review have not yet been given effect. We are therefore not asking adult protection committees to submit significant case reviews at this time. For further information about significant case reviews in respect of adults, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Serious incident reviews (justice)

While serious incident reviews (SIRs) are not directed under legislation, we know that justice social work services are committed to ensuring best practice by  undertaking reviews when an individual subject to statutory social work supervision is charged with a further offence which has resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, another person or where there are concerns about the efficiency and effectiveness of social work processes and practice.  Justice social work services should continue to notify us of any serious incidents as soon as is reasonably practicable.  We understand the submission of subsequent initial or comprehensive reviews may take longer than usual to complete.   We will endeavour to continue our quality assurance role and provide timely and helpful feedback.  If you have any questions regarding the process please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Associate assessors for strategic inspections

We are not currently recruiting associate assessors 

Associate assessors are professionals working at a strategic level from across statutory and third sector services with significant practice or management experience in services for children, adults or justice. They work as part of the inspection team for the duration of the one inspection. The benefits of this approach are two-fold: associate assessors bring specialist skills, knowledge and recent strategic and operational experience into the inspection and in return, are encouraged to share their learning and to build capacity for self- evaluation and improvement within their own local partnership or service area.

We believe that the inclusion of associate assessors brings current practice perspectives to our strategic inspections. They can help ensure we are partnership-orientated and contribute to our understanding of the contemporary picture of service planning and delivery. At the same time, this involvement provides an ideal opportunity to help build capacity for joint self-evaluation and improvement in local partnerships.

Associate assessors are deployed, by agreement with their employer, for a period of between 4 and 12 days during a strategic inspection. See our frequently asked questions and code of practice for more information.

Find out more about our joint inspections below.