Care Inspectorate defends conducting nursery inspection by iPad

The Care Inspectorate has defended its decision to carry out a follow-up inspection of the Whalsay nursery virtually last year.

Councillors heard this week inspectors ordered the nursery to make improvements following an in-person inspection in September.

But two months later inspectors opted not to come to Shetland to see if the improvements had been made.

Instead they conducted the inspection virtually – with staff having to show them the setting, and key documents, via iPad.

That led to criticisms from SIC officials and elected members this week, with children’s services director Helen Budge saying the virtual visit “really didn’t work for us”.

There was also anger that the inspectors decided they could not make a judgement on whether all the improvements had been made, because they were not there in person.

Responding to the criticisms, the Care Inspectorate insisted that its first priority was always the safety of every child who experiences care.

“We followed up a requirement virtually to review the service’s actions to ensure children were cared for in a safe environment,” it said of its November inspection.

“The decision to undertake this follow up for the requirement virtually was a proportionate risk-based response, ensuring that we could quickly provide assurance to local families that the safety elements had been rapidly addressed.

“We will carry out a further unannounced inspection on site to follow up on the remaining areas for improvement and ensure the service has had time to embed their practice.”

Councillor Stephen Leask said this week it was the Care Inspectorate itself which should be given “an inadequate report”.


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