Ofsted Launches Consultation for Children’s Homes and Residential Holiday Schemes

Topics covered: children’s home inspections, children’s homes, ofsted, social care

The consultation period which runs from 2nd November to 24th January 2022 contains proposals on Ofsted’s new inspection arrangements for children’s homes and residential holiday schemes.

The newly launched consultation, is regarding new arrangements for interim children’s home inspections and inspections of residential holiday schemes for disabled children (RHSDCs)

Ofsted are imploring anybody with an interest in children’s homes and/or RHSDCs including the following range of people to come forward and share their views:

  • Professionals
  • Providers
  • Families
  • Children
  • Volunteers

Therefore, this is an opportunity for the responses received to help shape and inform the new arrangements which are set to be introduced on the 1st April 2022.

The forthcoming plans propose to change the interim inspection process of children’s homes. Ofsted are proposing to revise the purpose of an interim inspection of a children’s home and will carry it out to provide assurance that the home has not declined since the full inspection. This is to ensure that children are well cared for and safe, and that leaders and managers continue to remain effective. The way in which this will be achieved will be from the following proposed changes.

Ofsted will now only provide a single judgement based on the inspection findings. Previously, an interim inspection said whether a home has improved, declined, or sustained its effectiveness since the last inspection. However, this meant readers would need to refer to the previous Ofsted report to fully understand and comprehend how a home is now performing. A new single judgement based on the findings of the interim inspection would state whether or not Ofsted finds “serious and widespread concerns”. This newly proposed model aims to make the process clearer for the reader and to introduce clarity on the findings of the report.

In addition, Ofsted are keen to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of any improvements leaders and managers have made since the last inspection, but to convey this in a simpler format. As well as replacing the term “interim” with a more meaningful name for the inspections. It is Ofsted’s position that these changes will better inform homes and commissioners about their findings and provider a clearer basis for any subsequent enforcement action.

Inspections of residential holiday schemes for disabled children will also be subject to change. RHSDCs are run by volunteers who take disabled children away on holiday. Each scheme is inspected every year, irrespective of how long or how many times it runs. Ofsted currently regulate and inspect fewer than 20 RHSDCs. In the forthcoming changes they propose to

  • Update the language and emphasis in the social care common inspection framework (SCCIF) for RHSDCs
  • Use a combination of on- and off-site inspection activities
  • Require schemes to provide a formal notification of the proposed date and location they will run from
  • Carry out an interview with the manager before the scheme starts.

Ofsted aims to provide greater assurance that RHSDCs are meeting regulatory requirements without detracting from the children’s holiday experience. The updated social care common inspection framework (SCCIF) for RHSDCs will reflect the change in position that these schemes are now classed as ‘one-off’ events as opposed to being treated like an ongoing service like children’s homes.  It has been recognised by Ofsted that currently the language in the SCCIF is less relevant for RHSDCs. The proposed changes will add an emphasis on the child’s experience, and less on their progress including more references to the needs of disabled children. Ofsted’s positon is that it hopes these changes will be more proportionate for providers, whilst still ensuring children are kept safe and their welfare continues to be promoted.

The consultation runs from 2 November 2021 to 24 January 2022. Responses will inform Ofsted’s new arrangements, which they aim to introduce from 1 April 2022. Ofsted are asking for responses to help them with this new set of proposals, feedback can be given using this link attached: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SCCIFConsultation/

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