What is your name and your job title?
Gary Balcombe, Regulatory Inspection Manager.
How long have you worked for Ofsted?
What were you doing before?
I was a Registered Manager of an Independent Fostering Agency.
What attracted you to role you’re in now?
To be involved in the Regulation of services, having seen so many poor ones. I saw this as a great career opportunity, to develop myself professionally and personally. I wanted to make a difference, Ofsted can do this in ways that other career’s in social care do not allow.
What are the biggest challenges?
My biggest challenges relate to managing 14 staff and overseeing all the regulatory work within 9 LA’s. Another challenge is that scrutiny that we are under. The pressure comes from within and externally to be the best, to epitomise best practice.
And the biggest rewards?
Facilitating rapid and effective change that has a direct impact on children and young people.
Can you briefly outline the work you do day to day?
Manage the inspection programme; liaise with my compliance inspector regarding new and existing compliance cases; take calls from inspectors about inspections, issues, concerns, personal issues; make decisions on suitability of Registered Manager applications/new services; be decision maker in case reviews; review serious notifications, quality assure inspection reports.
Is there one achievement that stands out for you in your career with Ofsted so far?
Those occasions when you make a real change for a young person, quickly. On one occasion a inspector highlighted that a young person was not receiving a service that the La had said 9 months previous that she should. I escalated this through SHMI to DCS. This resulted in the young person receiving the service she had been waiting for within a week.
What about the culture, training and benefits? How do you think they compare to those of previous employers?
These are comparable with my previous employer.
What are the critical skills/qualities you need to do well in your role and why?
Organised – be able to prioritise competing demands.
Tenacious - be able to follow complex situations through to closure.
Communication skills – to be able to communicate with a variety of key stakeholders, both written and verbally.
Motivated – to be self-motivated, and be able to motivate a dispersed workforce