Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): residential family centres

Guidance on how Ofsted inspects residential family centres.

Applies to England



This framework sets out Ofsted’s process for inspecting residential family centres.

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
Published 22 February 2017
Last updated 5 April 2024 + show all updates
  1. This framework has been updated to clarify that, when applying the framework, inspectors will take appropriate action to comply with Ofsted’s Equality Act duties, clarification on the opportunities for providers to discuss and/or provide information on potential equalities duties, including reasonable adjustments for individuals, clarification regarding Ofsted’s updated arrangements for publishing the report, quality assurance and handling concerns and complaints in line with Ofsted’s new complaints process in the timeframe sections, references to Ofsted’s pausing process, minor revisions to the evaluation criteria re children’s health needs and updated section on reporting concerns about the administration and management of controlled drugs.

  2. Additional guidance on deferring an inspection, inspector conduct during inspections, when and how the provider can raise issues, concerns or complaints during and after the inspection, supporting the well-being of the provider’s managers and staff during inspections and visits, attendance at keeping in touch meetings, discussions with staff and feedback meetings and who the provider may share provisional and final inspection outcomes with and the actions taken when a centre is judged to be inadequate.

  3. Updated the 'Evaluation criteria' section to clarify that monitoring and support activities of the centre are included in an inspector’s assessment of the experiences and progress of families, how well they are safeguarded, and how leadership reviews and improves the effectiveness of those activities.

  4. Minor changes to the evaluation criteria to align, where applicable, with other framework changes on children’s progress, the management of risk and the need to appoint a registered manager, if the post is vacant, within 26 weeks. Small change to guidance for inspectors on recording evidence in the inspection database.

  5. Minor edits for clarity in the 'Monitoring visit' section and revised text referencing the updated 'Ofsted code of conduct' policy.

  6. Added guidance for April 2022: made minor changes to the evaluation criteria on the impact of quality monitoring activities and the outcomes of assessments and additional guidance for when inspectors discover possible unregistered provision.

  7. Updated guidance on the scheduling of inspections of centres previously judged inadequate or requires improvement to be good, to make consistent with our guidance for other provider types.

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

  9. Added guidance on inspecting residential family centres during COVID-19 restrictions. Updated guidance to reflect changes to Ofsted’s post-inspection processes and complaints handling, including timeline, that we introduced in September 2020. Minor edits for readability.

  10. First published.