On 11 March 2022, Ofsted published the outcomes of a public consultation in relation to proposed changes to the Social Care Common Inspection Framework (“SCCIF”). The consultation ran from 2 November 2021 to 24 January 2022 and sought views from the public and those working in the sectors covered by the framework, on the way Ofsted carries out interim inspections of Children’s Homes and the way it inspects Residential Holiday Schemes for Disabled Children (“RHSDC”).
The outcomes of the consultation are summarised below and set out how the SCCIF will change from 1 April 2022.
For Children’s Homes, Ofsted has said that from 1 April 2022, ‘interim’ inspections will now be called ‘assurance’ inspections as this more accurately describes what type of inspection it is.
Ofsted will also replace the current relative judgement with a single judgement based on the findings of the inspection. Ofsted has said that by introducing a single judgement rather than a relative judgement, there will be a shift away from a focus on progress since the last full inspection, to a judgement about the home’s current situation. The single judgement is also meant to provide a clear basis for any subsequent enforcement action taken by Ofsted to ensure that children are well cared for and safe.
Ofsted’s revised inspection methodology will be implemented from 1 April 2022. Under the revised methodology, Ofsted will retain key inspection activities that enable it to assess whether progress has been made on requirements and recommendations from the last inspection and allow scope for inspectors to follow any key lines of enquiry relating to the home. The purpose of this is to ensure that the inspection activities it carries out will provide, “better assurance that children are well cared for and safe, and that leaders and managers are effective.”
On 11 March 2022, Ofsted published revised guidance on the SCCIF for RHSDC titled ‘Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): residential holiday schemes for disabled children’.
The revised evaluation criteria recognises that RHSDC are ‘one-off’ single event schemes run by staff and volunteers, rather than ‘enduring services’ such as Children’s Homes. There will now be increased emphasis on the disabled child’s experience and reduced focus on the child’s progress.
From 1 April 2022, there will be amendments to the amount of time inspectors spend on site with an increased focus on remote evidence gathering.
Ofsted will introduce its revised methodology and work with providers, professionals, parents, carers and children where possible to gather evidence remotely. Ofsted will also reduce the time spent on site from two days to half a day and carry out a variety of inspection activities off-site. The purpose of these changes is to enable Ofsted to carry out a more focused and proportionate inspection of holiday schemes.
From 1 April 2022, Ofsted will require providers of RHSDC to provide formal notification of their ‘intention to operate’ and ask that they confirm this, three months before the scheme operates or when they have firm plans in place. This is in order to assist Ofsted with inspection planning.
Under the existing system, Ofsted interviews the Registered Manager of the scheme on the first day of inspection. From 1 April 2022, inspectors will contact the Responsible Individual or Registered Manager approximately 10 days before the first day of the scheme to arrange an interview at an agreed time.
Ofsted has said that it is confident about the “revised approach but will review its effectiveness” as part of Ofsted’s routine framework evaluation during early implementation.
Prior to 1 April 2022, providers are encouraged to review Ofsted’s consultation outcome report titled, ‘SCCIF review (interim inspections of children’s homes and residential holiday schemes for disabled children): report on the responses to the consultation’ and the revised guidance on the SCCIF for RHSDC to ensure that they are aware of the new changes.