Ofsted launches consultation over interim children’s home inspections

9th November, 2021 9:49 am

Ofsted has launched a consultation over changes to interim inspections for children’s homes.

The inspectorate’s review will also look at proposed changes to the inspection of residential holiday schemes for disabled children (RHSDCs).

Proposals relating to the interim inspections of children’s homes include replacing the word interim “with a more meaningful name”, Ofsted’s consultation document states.

·       Inspections Clinic: Registering homes and managers

·       Analysis: Factors for stagnation in use of homes

It adds that the inspectorate also proposes to “provide a single judgment based on the inspection findings” and “evaluate the effectiveness of any improvements leaders and managers have made since the last inspection” of a children’s home.

The changes are designed to provide assurance that the home has not declined since the full inspection of the provision and make sure that children are well cared for and safe, and that leaders and managers are effective, Ofsted has said.

Interim inspections currently say whether a home has improved, declined or sustained its effectiveness since its last full inspection.

According to the consultation document, “this means readers need to refer to the previous Ofsted report to fully understand how a home is now performing. A new single judgment based on the findings of the interim inspection would state whether or not we found ‘serious and widespread concerns’.”

“We believe these changes would better inform homes and commissioners about our findings and provide a clear basis for any subsequent enforcement action,” it adds.

The consultation comes after a call by Ofsted’s national director for regulation and social care Yvette Stanley for greater oversight of large providers of both children’s homes.

The consultation will also ask professionals to share their views on the inspection of  RHSDCs.

Such initiatives are run by volunteers who typically take children with disabilities on short breaks of one or two nights, according to Ofsted.

Each project is inspected every time it runs, however, currently fewer than 20 RHSDCs are regulated and inspected by Ofsted.

Proposals made around the inspection of RHSDCs as part of the consultation include updating the language and emphasis in the social care common inspection framework (SCCIF) for RHSDCs “to acknowledge that these schemes are ‘one-off’ events run by volunteers, rather than ongoing services like children’s homes”.

“Currently, language in the SCCIF for RHSDCs is less relevant or applies differently to them compared with other social care settings like children’s homes.

“We propose increasing the emphasis on the child’s experience, and less on their progress, including more references to the needs of disabled children. We will consider our language to make sure it accurately reflects what happens at a holiday scheme,” Ofsted has said.

The inspectorate has also announced proposals to introduce a “combination of on- and off-site inspection activities” and the requirement for schemes to provide a formal notification of the proposed date and location they will run from.

The inspectorate has also put forward plans to carry out an interview with programme managers before the scheme starts.

“We want to provide assurance that RHSDCs are meeting regulatory requirements without detracting from the children’s holiday experience.

“We believe these changes will be more proportionate for providers, while making sure children are kept safe and their welfare is promoted,” the consultation document states.

The consultation will be run via an online survey and is set to close on 24 January 2022.

Source: Children & Young People Now

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