We are ‘Outstanding’….but what does it mean nowadays?
At Chrysalis Care, we are extremely proud of our Ofsted ‘outstanding’ status. We have always been outstanding and were ‘excellent’ beforehand. We know all too well, the hard work and commitment that is required, not only in the weeks leading up to and during the Inspection but also on an ongoing basis. This leads me to consider what it means to be outstanding nowadays. For all of us who compile PQQs and tender documents, we know that our Ofsted rating is only one consideration amongst many and is becoming increasingly less of a priority, as ‘efficiency savings’ demand greater focus.
So, what does it mean to be ‘outstanding’ nowadays? I have noticed that at recent public forums, conversation around whether one is ‘outstanding (proclaimed loudly) or not (said in a quieter voice and perhaps accompanied by a justification), has shifted focus to a much more philosophical one, debating the validity of the Ofsted rating. This is not to say that the rating is not important, per sé but consideration to it in context is unsurprising in times of austerity measures. In spite of a more concerted effort to focus on the experiences and outcomes for children and young people, the Ofsted process is ultimately a culmination and recognition of being able to produce the evidence! Inevitably, this brings us back to the age-old discussion about how investing in paperwork can compromise the time afforded to ‘face-to-face’ work – and we all know that engagement is the essence of social work – but that’s another blog!
A key question is, if our efforts are centred on achieving ‘outstanding’ at the expense of the time that the largely bureaucratic tendering process demands and then in reality, those providers who are successful in the tender process, achieve this with a ‘good’ or even ‘satisfactory’ Ofsted rating, what is the true value of ‘outstanding’ nowadays? I’m sure the debate will continue……….
Joanna Oliver, Strategic Development Executive