SEND local area inspections

Upcoming SEND Joint Area Inspection in Lancashire

From Jacqui Old CBE, Executive Director of Education and Children's Services

We are preparing for an imminent inspection of the local area partnership for SEND by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In January 2023, Ofsted and the CQC adopted a new framework for jointly inspecting local area arrangements to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and for those who attend alternative education provision. These inspections assess how effectively education, health and social care services in the area work together to improve experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND aged 0-25 years, and their families.

What the inspectors are looking for

Inspectors evaluate the impact of the local area partnership’s SEND arrangements on the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND, including the extent to which:

  • children and young people’s needs are identified accurately and assessed in a timely and effective way
  • children, young people and their families participate in decision-making about their individual plans and support
  • children and young people receive the right help at the right time
  • children and young people are well prepared for their next steps, and achieve strong outcomes
  • children and young people are valued, visible and included in their communities.

How the inspection process works

Inspections take place over three weeks. Inspectors will notify local leaders of the inspection eight working days before the fieldwork begins and 10 working days before coming on site.

Week one

During week one, inspectors will request information to support the inspection and will hold a set-up discussion with local leaders. The local area partnership will then distribute surveys for children and young people with SEND, parents and carers and practitioners. The local area partnership will share information to support the inspection.

Inspectors will select individual children and young people and ask the local area partnership to set up tracking meetings. The inspectors will then carry out planning and pre-inspection analysis.

Week two

Inspectors will work with the local area partnership to agree an inspection timetable and hold tracking meetings. They will carry our pre-inspection analysis and review the information set out in Annex A (Area SEND inspections: framework and handbook on GOV.UK). They may meet virtually with local leaders, staff, representative groups and stakeholders.

Week three

Inspectors will conduct on-site evidence gathering and feed back their findings to the local area partnership.

View the full inspection framework and handbook on GOV.UK.

Working with our partners

Our partners play an important role in providing high quality SEND and alternative provision services. The CQC and Ofsted will test how well we work strategically together to deliver services for children and young people with SEND to reach their potential, and the impact of this on the outcomes achieved by children and young people with SEND and those who are in alternative education provision. Inspectors will evaluate and report on the impact of the local area partnership’s arrangements for children and young people with SEND, and an inspection report will be published shortly after the inspection which will be made available to all parents, carers, children and young people, and our partners.

Lancashire County Council is working together with our local area partners to ensure we are fully prepared for the inspection. These include:

  • Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board
  • Lancashire Parent Carer Forum
  • Lancashire SEND IAS
  • Children and Young People SEND Board
  • POWAR participation group for children and young people
  • Schools and colleges

Information for parents and carers

There is an easy-read document for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND explaining how and why these inspections happen. You can find a link to this document on this page:

Contact us

If you have any queries about the inspection or require support, please contact the Inspections Team at