Posted tagged ‘citizen inspector’

Hello Mr Inspector, not staying for a cuppa?

October 13, 2011

The best citizen inspector ever... Go Go Gadget!

It’s guest post day at WLLG; today with some provocative thoughts about citizen inspection and life after the audit commission. If you would like to submit a guest post (we love guest posts) please drop us a line at welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com but not before you’ve read this:

Every since I was a little girl, I remember taking exams, tests, interviews and answering questions. Our lives revolve around being tested and dreading the results that are posted or emailed to our post and now inboxes. Granted, I still have nightmares about my Maths A-level!

Local authorities are no exception. They used to have multitudes of inspections; Ofsted, CA inspections, peer inspections, cross borough inspections. The list continues. ..

My first ever job in a Local Authority came one month before an Ofsted inspection. Plants appeared from nowhere. The printers started working. We had daily walk abouts from our Director. Supervision notes were sent straight to HR. Desks were cleared. The heating was turned on (it was January at this point). Team meetings were given to ensure we stayed on message.

My role in the Ofsted inspection was to train up 10 community members to mirror their inspection. They would lead on their own line of enquiry and report straight back to Ofsted. We recruited and trained them and they then went out into the world and interviewed and inspected various community centres. When it came to presenting their findings to the inspectors, we all sat at the back with baited breath. I remember the whole room going quite still in preparation for their verdict.

These particular community members graded us as a good council. Exceptional was a far way off for them. Ofsted left praising the scheme and the community members, thoroughly impressed that they could give their views. My Director gave me a nod of approval. I had passed my probation!

The reason I’m writing this is because I’m a keen follower of the political party conferences. I have been watching my sector – engagement and consultation – closely over the last few months. I have been seeing changes from slogans such as the “Big Society” to “community auditors” and “governors”. The Tory’s have been shouting about local inspections, led by local people.

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