Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): independent fostering agencies

Guidance on how Ofsted inspects independent fostering agencies.

Applies to England



This framework sets out Ofsted’s process for inspecting independent fostering agencies.

Our approach is underpinned by the following 3 principles that apply to all social care inspections:

  • to focus on the things that matter most to children’s lives
  • to be consistent in our expectations of providers
  • to prioritise our work where improvement is needed most

View the letter of notice that we send to the agency, notifying them of our inspection and setting out practical arrangements.

Published 22 February 2017
Last updated 11 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added SCCIF guidance for April 2022: updated with additional guidance for when inspectors discover possible unregistered provision.

  2. Removed guidance on assurance visits, as we are no longer carrying these out.

  3. Guidance on inspecting independent fostering agencies during COVID-19 restrictions. Updated guidance to reflect changes to Ofsted’s post-inspection processes and complaints handling (including the timeline) that we introduced in September 2020. Minor edits for readability.

  4. First published.