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Children: Protection

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many copies of serious case reviews have been misplaced by Ofsted in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. (271242)

This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply has been placed in the House Libraries.

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 5 May 2009:

Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for reply.

As responsibility for the evaluation of serious case reviews transferred from the Commission for Social Care Inspection to Ofsted on 1 April 2007, we are not able to provide information preceding this date. Local safeguarding children boards are required, upon completion of serious case reviews, to send a copy of documents to Ofsted for evaluation.

Since April 2007, Ofsted has received documentation for 234 serious case reviews. One set of documents was lost in December 2007, within one of Ofsted's regional offices, and has not been found. I very much regret this. Due to the highly sensitive content of serious case reviews, the matter was thoroughly investigated and a more secure document handling process was implemented across the whole of Ofsted.

There has been no recurrence. However, there have been four incidents when local safeguarding boards have claimed to have sent documents to Ofsted that were not received. Ofsted has a process for recording receipt of post, which is why we know the Derbyshire documents were received in our Midlands regional office and then lost by us. We have no record of documents from these four incidents reaching any of our four offices and in none of these cases could proof of postage be provided. In each case, documents were subsequently provided to Ofsted and evaluated.

A copy of this reply has been sent to Rt Hon Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners, and will be placed in the library of both Houses.