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Roles and Responsibilities

District Inspector (DI)

The DI has responsibility for a group of organisations within a sector or phase, such as further education and training organisations. District visits are usually carried out in an organisation by the DI. The DI visits the organisation to monitor and evaluate the provision on an ongoing basis. After the visit, the DI will normally provide oral feedback for the organisation, indicating the strengths and the areas for improvement.

Relevant performance data and information collected during district visits will be part of the evidence base to select and determine the model of future inspections of organisations;

In the vast majority of follow-up inspections (FUIs) the DI will be the Reporting Inspector and will be responsible for ensuring that the FUI is completed.

Reporting Inspector (RI)

The RI manages the inspection team and is supported, in most cases, by a Deputy Reporting Inspector. The RI is responsible for:

  • the planning and conduct of the inspection, from the initial contact with the leader of the organisation to the publication of the report;
  • establishing good working relationships and effective open communication with the leader and staff of the organisation; and fostering a positive climate for the inspection;
  • endeavouring to ensure that the staff of the organisation is well informed about the nature of the inspection and how the inspection will be carried out;
  • ensuring that all briefings and/or documentation cover the various aspects and stages of the inspection and how the staff and the learners will be involved;
  • clarifying the documentation and information required for the inspection, and the timescale for providing it;
  • gathering any information about particular circumstances affecting the organisation which may have a bearing on the context of the inspection;
  • maintaining regular communication to discuss any significant adjustments to the inspection, ensuring that concerns or difficulties are dealt with promptly and appropriate service standards are achieved.

Deputy Reporting Inspector (DRI)

The DRI assists the RI as necessary and will take the lead when the RI is not available.

The Inspection Team

Inspections of individual organisations are normally undertaken by a team of specialist inspectors, supported where appropriate by associate assessors and professional associates. On some occasions the team may include inspectors from another inspectorate within the United Kingdom or Europe.

Specialist Inspectors

As part of the inspection process, the specialist inspectors, under the leadership of the RI, will, where appropriate:

  • evaluate the quality of the relationships throughout the organisation;
  • observe learning, teaching and training;
  • evaluate the efficacy of the procedures for the pastoral care of children, young people and vulnerable adults;
  • assess whether the aims, content of programmes / courses and conduct of sessions are appropriate for the learners and whether there is a good match between the activities and abilities of the learners;
  • evaluate procedures for guidance and learner support;
  • talk and engage with learners;
  • talk and engage with employers;
  • evaluate the standards of learners’ work, including written and practical work;
  • take account of the attitude and motivation of the learners and their oral responses;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the leadership and management of the organisation in raising standards and improving the quality of learning; and
  • evaluate the nature, condition and appropriateness of the accommodation and resources.

Associate Assessor (AA)

An AA is a professional from an educational organisation with expertise and experience in a particular educational area.  Associate Assessors are appointed by public advertisement and interview.

An AA joins an inspection team and contributes in the area(s) within their professional expertise.

Professional Associate (PA)

A PA is a practitioner in a specialist area of business and industry. PAs are appointed through open competition.

A PA joins an inspection team and provides useful insights for inspectors and an organisation’s staff on the current needs of employers and on the relevance of education and training practice.


Organisations will be invited to nominate a senior member of staff who will work with the inspection team. The nominee acts as the main communication link between the inspection team and the organisation. It is essential that the nominee understands the organisation’s learning programmes, operational arrangements and quality systems. The nominee should be trusted by staff at all levels, and ensure their co-operation before and during an inspection.

The role of every person present at an inspection should be made clear to the nominee.

Inspectors will use the nominee’s knowledge to help plan their schedule of meetings and their inspection of the provider’s documentation. The reporting inspector will ensure that the nominee has the opportunity to hear the evidence on which inspectors have based their judgements. The nominee should raise any concerns about the evidence base with the RI as soon as those concerns become apparent.

The RI will keep the nominee informed daily of developing issues and findings as the inspection proceeds.

The responsibilities of the nominee include:

  • ensuring that the inspection team has access to all relevant information, and has clear channels of communication to management at all levels;
  • ensuring that the inspection team has reliable and up-to-date data;
  • liaising with the inspection team on all matters associated with self-evaluation and improvement, and to direct inspectors to evidence used to support the self-evaluation report;
  • arranging meetings between inspectors and relevant stakeholders and ensuring that the necessary documents are available for inspectors;
  • attending team meetings where appropriate;
  • answering queries from the inspectors;
  • helping to ensure that the inspectors’ findings are clear and accurate;
  • co-ordinating feedback arrangements, both during and after the inspection;
  • respecting the confidentiality of all discussions of the inspection; and
  • providing the Inspectorate with feedback on the process of the inspection.

The Department

The contract managers and / or Department representative will be present at both the informal and formal feedback. They will liaise with the Inspectorate and the organisations in the post-inspection phase.

Post-Inspection Support

Post-inspection support where required will be provided in conjunction with the contract manager and appropriate personnel from the Department’s Quality and Performance Branch.

Inspection Services Team (IST)

IST provides administrative support for the work of inspectors including the issuing of all documentation needed for inspections.

Contact Details:

Inspection Services Team
Education and Training Inspectorate
Department of Education
Rathgael House
43 Balloo Road
Co Down
BT19 7PR

Tel: 028 9127 9726

Fax: 028 9127 9691