Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green asks a very good question:
The hideous tales from Basildon University Hospital last week epitomize how bad things are. An unannounced visit by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found “Third World” conditions. The death rate at the hospital was one third higher than it should have been.
However, it wasn’t that long before that Basildon got a very good rating from its CQC inspection. Moreover, it is a Foundation Trust hospital – which status you are only meant to gain on being excellent.
We need to really look at inspections!
The same syndrome was seen in the Baby Peter tragedy in Haringey where OFSTED inspected Haringey’s Children’s Services and gave them a three star rating just before the Baby Peter case broke – and then immediately after in the urgent investigation for Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children and Families gave them a one star rating. As with Basildon, it is only after tragedy has struck and a new inspection carried out that the truth has come out over the real state of affairs.
OFSTED said of their earlier inspection that Haringey Council had misled them by giving them false information. That first inspection was what is called a ‘desk inspection’ I believe – where conclusions are drawn from paperwork and data records and not actual physical inspections or interviews.
I think this symptomatic of three things really.
Firstly, I don’t have real confidence that inspections and evaluations are properly impartial.
She has a point.
To give another example, the ISF Schools are very closely linked to the extremist jihadist party, Hizb ut Tahrir. That much is clear to anybody who knows anything about HuT. Yet the OFSTED report completely missed it!
Here is Michael Gove MP in The Telegraph:
Ed Balls wrote yesterday that “no evidence has been found that extremist…views are being taught”. He argued on Newsnight last week that “The question is, were the schools promoting terrorism or extremism? … I have looked at the curriculum, the answer was no.”
I, too, have seen a curriculum from the school. It has also been reviewed by several former Hizb-ut-Tahrir members. They confirm that it propagates, in detail, every particular of the group’s vision of an Islamic state.
Ed argued yesterday that “we have to be vigilant and investigate every threat”. I wholeheartedly agree. If we are to defend faith schools run in accordance with the principles of all our great religions, including Islam, then we need a proper investigation of organisations like the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation and Hizb-ut-Tahrir and an absolute guarantee that public funds cannot be funnelled to extremists behind the Government’s back.
Where a system of public inspection has palpably failed, it doesn’t do for the Secretary of State to proceed as if everything is hunky dory.
The Government should start with the assumption that there will be, from time to time, anti-democratic and totalitarian groups which will try to work the public sector to advance their revolutionary goals. Specialists in enforcement, who are alert to the methods and ideologies of groups such as Hizb ut Tahrir need to be recruited by OFSTED and specifically tasked with ensuring that this method of entryism does not succeed.
We are a Labour Party supporting blog. We would like to see Labour, not the Tories, plug this gap.