What is oversight?
The Educational Rights Alliance believes that effective oversight is essential to guarantee that public bodies (and this term includes local authorities, schools, NHS hospitals, Government departments, the Ombudsmen, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the courts and Tribunals) make decisions properly and in accordance with the law. Oversight is closely tied to accountability as effective oversight increases our chances of holding public bodies to account.
In the education system, oversight means the supervision and monitoring of the decisions and other actions of public bodies. This is carried out by a variety of different bodies. For example, Governors have an oversight responsibility for schools as do Ofsted. The Local Government Ombudsman has an oversight responsibility for local authorities. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has an oversight function for the NHS.
However, oversight can also be conducted by the courts, for example, by way of judicial review. In judicial review, the courts can consider whether decisions have been made lawfully.
Additionally, we should not forget the oversight should also be rigorously conducted by elected officials, particularly by our MPs and local councillors. For example, local councillors (elected members) should be made aware of the practices and policies of local authority departments.
When complete, this page will set out in more detail some of the ways in which oversight can be exercised in the education system and the ways we believe if can be strengthened.