Ofsted consults on tougher standards for children’s homes

Ofsted has recently launched its consultation on the new inspection framework for children’s homes.  The consultation proposes tougher measures and extends the evaluation criteria that inspectors will be looking at during inspections.

As part of the changes Ofsted have proposed that ‘Good’ will be considered the minimum standard that children and young people should expect and the ‘Adequate’ judgement will be replaced by ‘Requires Improvement’.  This brings the rating system in line with that currently used for schools and local authorities children’s services.

Ofsted has proposed it will be taking a risk-based approach in its follow-up to children’s homes that are judged to be ‘Inadequate’.  In some instances (for example where the nature of the concerns mean they can be rectified quickly) Ofsted has proposed that inspectors should be able to give an improved judgement without undertaking a further full inspection and where all requirements have been met.

The grade descriptor that describes the characteristics of ‘Good’ for the judgement of ‘the overall experiences and progress of children and young people living in the home’ will take into account how well children and young people are helped and protected and the impact and effectiveness of leaders and managers.

A limiting judgement for how well children and young people are helped and protected has been proposed.  This means that if inspector’s judge care to be ‘Inadequate’ in this area then this will result in an overall ‘experience and progress’ judgement of ‘Inadequate’.  In addition, a graded judgement for the impact and effectiveness of leaders and managers has been proposed.  This means that if inspectors judge this area of provision to be ‘Inadequate’, this is likely to lead to an overall judgement of ‘Inadequate’ for ‘experience and progress’ and in any event the judgement cannot exceed ‘Requires Improvement’.

Commenting on the consultation, Ofsted’s national director for social care, Debbie Jones, said “We are proposing a flexible model for inspection, which allows inspectors to use their professional judgement to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the home on the experiences of children and young people.”

The consultation closes on 13 January 2015 and can be viewed here.

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