SEND inspection by Ofsted and the CQC

Joint area SEND inspection for Central Bedfordshire

In November 2019, a joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection was conducted in Central Bedfordshire, looking at our effectiveness, along with the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, in implementing the disability and special educational needs reforms of the Children and Families Act 2014. On Monday 24 February, the official letter relating to the inspection was published on Ofsted's website.

This joint inspection evaluated how effectively we (and health colleagues):

  • identifiy the needs of children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities)
  • assess and meet the needs of these children and young people
  • improve outcomes for these children and young people

Throughout the week-long inspection period, the inspectors gathered information about children/young people with SEND, as well as the available services on offer in Central Bedfordshire. During their time, inspectors looked at case files, spoke with relevant leaders and managers, as well as with families (parents and carers) who have children/young people with SEND. The inspectors also visited educational settings (e.g. schools, colleges, or specialist services) to hear the views and voices of children/young people and their parents/carers and families.

The inspectors published the findings on 24 February 2020.

What they said

You can read the full report from the inspection on Ofsted's website.

A summary of the key themes is provided below.


  • significant inroads have been made on basic systems and processes
  • leaders acknowledge weaknesses and recognise on a journey to improve implementation of the reform
  • along with Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, we are committed to a joint commissioning plan
  • SNAP PCF and SENDIASS are proactive in championing the voice of families and challenging area leaders
  • impactful early years support, services, and team
  • complex health needs are well supported and specific health services (e.g. mental health) are well established and received

Significant areas of weakness

  • existing EHC plans are not of sufficient quality to ensure that the needs of children and young people are identified and met
  • leaders do not have sufficient oversight of the quality of new EHC plans
  • area leaders in education, health and care do not have a shared understanding of the outcomes they want for children and young people with SEND
  • the area’s SEND strategy is not clear
  • co-production is not well informed by the views of children, young people, and their families
  • the Local Offer is not effective

The inspectors found our partnership is not yet delivering the requirements of the Children and Families Act 2014 and so we are required to produce a written statement of action to assure Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that we are committed to improving services and support.

What happens next?

We, along with Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) are required to produce and submit to Ofsted a written statement of action that explains how the local area will tackle the significant areas of weakness, as outlined above.

Once the written statement of action has been submitted, Central Bedfordshire will have a full re-visit by Ofsted and the CQC. This would normally take place 18 months after the written statement of action has been accepted as fit for purpose by Ofsted and the CQC.