The consultation contains proposals on new inspection arrangements for children’s homes and residential holiday schemes.

We have launched a consultation on new arrangements for interim children’s home inspections and inspections of residential holiday schemes for disabled children (RHSDCs).

We encourage anyone with an interest in children’s homes and/or RHSDCs – including professionals, providers, families, children, and volunteers – to give us their views.

The consultation runs from 2 November 2021 to 24 January 2022. Responses will inform our new arrangements, which we aim to introduce from 1 April 2022.

Interim inspections of children’s homes

We are proposing to revise the purpose of an interim inspection of a children’s home and how we carry it out to:

  • provide assurance that the home has not declined since the full inspection
  • make sure that children are well cared for and safe, and that leaders and managers are effective.

We propose to:

  • provide a single judgement based on the inspection findings
  • evaluate the effectiveness of any improvements leaders and managers have made since the last inspection
  • replace ‘interim’ with a more meaningful name

Interim inspections currently say whether a home has improved, declined or sustained its effectiveness since the last inspection. This means readers need to refer to the previous Ofsted report to fully understand how a home is now performing. A new single judgement 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.

Inspections of residential holiday schemes for disabled children

RHSDCs are run by volunteers who take disabled children away on holiday, usually for short breaks of a few nights. Each scheme is inspected every year, irrespective of how long or how many times it runs. We currently regulate and inspect fewer than 20 RHSDCs.

We 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

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

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

Please respond using our electronic survey.

If you need an alternative format, please email [email protected].

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Published 2 November 2021