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Ofsted enforcement action

Ofsted has a wide range of civil and criminal enforcement powers, including the cancellation of registration. Ofsted can utilise these powers against registered providers and managers in early years, childcare, education and social care sectors, and has the power to take enforcement action against individuals or companies who are providing regulated activities without registration.

What are Ofsted’s enforcement powers?

In broad terms, Ofsted can take the following action against a provider:

  • Raise a requirement following or at an inspection / monitoring visit
  • Make a recommendation at an inspection / monitoring visit
  • Issue welfare requirement notices
  • Issue compliance notices
  • Suspend registration
  • Restrict accommodation
  • Cancel registration
  • Impose or vary conditions of registration
  • Emergency cancellation of registration
  • Emergency suspension
  • Refusal of a new registration or a request to vary or remove conditions of registration
  • Grant registration with conditions not previously agreed
  • Warning letters and cautions
  • Prosecutions

The type of action taken by Ofsted will be determined by the nature of the concerns that Ofsted have and the type of provider that they are regulating.


What does this mean for providers?

It is vital that all providers, including early years, childcare, education and social care providers, act quickly once they receive any enforcement action from Ofsted, particularly if they receive a suspension notice, a notice of proposal, or a notice of decision. There are often tight timescales in which a provider can respond to or challenge Ofsted’s enforcement action and it is therefore extremely important that a provider uses this time wisely. Any challenges made must be robust and supported with clear documentary evidence. Providers must also ensure that they fully engage with Ofsted throughout this process, and ensure that any deadlines set are strictly complied to. A failure to do so could put their business and reputation at risk and lead to severe financial consequences, especially where cancellation of registration is pursued.

Facing Ofsted enforcement action

If you are facing enforcement action by Ofsted, you should seek specialist legal advice in order to protect your interests and safeguard your registration. Our specialist Ofsted lawyers can advise you on the legal implications of this enforcement action and what action you should take. Where appropriate, our specialist Ofsted lawyers will seek to conclude matters as soon as possible, either through the submission of detailed written representations and evidence to Ofsted on your behalf or by providing robust and specialist representation at an appeal hearing. If you are facing prosecution, our Ofsted specialists will advise you on the appropriate strategy and provide effective representation.

For a confidential discussion with one of our specialist Ofsted lawyers, please contact us on 0161 696 6250 or complete our online enquiry form.

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