[holding answer 26 June 2009]: 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 9 July 2009:
Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, for reply.
Information relating to the academic level of qualifications held by inspectors was not provided to Ofsted when social care inspectors transferred from the Commission for Social Care Inspection in April 2007. As of 26 June 2009, Ofsted employs 44 Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) with a social care background, who manage and undertake inspections of local authority children’s services. Ofsted also employs 149 social care inspectors, who regulate and inspect a range of social care providers, such as residential homes, fostering and adoption agencies.
Of the 44 HMI, 42 hold a social work qualification recognised by the General Social Care Council, the qualification required for social work practice. These qualifications were awarded at different academic levels depending on the course attended (from the Certificate of Qualification in Social Work to a Masters degree) but all hold the same professional status. The requirement to hold a degree as the minimum level of social work qualification was only introduced in 2003. One HMI holds a residential work qualification which is not recognised as a social work qualification.
The 149 social care inspectors hold a variety of social work, social care and related qualifications and had considerable experience in providing children’s social care services prior to joining Ofsted.
A copy of this reply has been sent to Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo MP, Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families, and will be placed in the library of both Houses.