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Volunteer with Ofsted

Are you interested in gaining insight into Ofsted’s work?

Would you like to play a key role in the scrutiny of Ofsted’s decisions?

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, and you are from a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ early years setting, then you should consider applying to be an external member of one of Ofsted’s nine regional scrutiny panels. You must not already be involved in carrying out inspections for Ofsted.

Ofsted is particularly interested in applications from childminders, who are currently underrepresented on the scrutiny panels.

This is a purely voluntary role which requires a high degree of confidentiality. No payment will be made to external panel members, and Ofsted are not able to cover travel expenses.

External panel members can be expected to be asked to volunteer once every few months or so. Each panel takes place at one of Ofsted’s regional offices and lasts two hours.

If you are interested in applying to be an external scrutiny panel member, please email our policy team, and we will send you more information.

Background to Ofsted’s scrutiny panels

In 2015, Ofsted introduced new regional scrutiny committees or ‘panels’. Since then, 150 panels been held across all of Ofsted’s remits, including early years.

The purpose of the scrutiny panels is to review the decisions taken by Ofsted’s internal review process. Each early years panel is chaired by a Senior HMI and includes an Ofsted early years specialist as well as an external member.

Panels are able to challenge the robustness of the internal review and original investigation process with the person who carried out the internal review; for example, by testing how concerns about inspection judgements or inspector conduct were investigated and responded to. They are held in Ofsted’s regional offices and each lasts up to two hours.

If the panel determines that a mistake has been made in the complaints handling process, then its decision is final.