Children’s homes will be immediately labelled ‘inadequate’ if they are found to be failing to protect and promote the welfare of children, Ofsted has proposed.
Launching its consultation for a tough new inspection framework for children’s homes, the watchdog proposed new powers for inspectors to make a key judgement on how well children and young people are ‘helped and protected’.
If a children’s home is judged to be inadequate in this key area, it will automatically be graded inadequate overall.
The timing and nature of follow-up inspections for inadequate homes will be judged on a more proportionate, risk-based approach based on the inspector’s concerns. Currently, the policy is to return for a full inspection within six to eight weeks of the judgement.
The performance of leaders and managers will also be awarded a graded judgement by inspectors under the new framework.
Debbie Jones, Ofsted’s national director for social care, acknowledged the “diversity of provision” in the residential child care sector.
“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,” she said.
‘Good’ will become the minimum standard that children and young people should expect, while the ‘adequate’ judgement will be replaced by ‘requires improvement’, bringing the ratings system in line with that used for local authorities children’s services.
‘Overall effectiveness’ would become ‘Overall experiences and progress of children and young people living in the home’, in the new framework.