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Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): children’s homes, including secure children’s homes

14. Making requirements and recommendations

What inspectors must do when imposing requirements and making recommendations.

14.1 Requirements

Inspectors impose requirements when there has been a breach of a regulation.

When imposing a requirement, inspectors must ensure that there is enough evidence to support the breach and that they are able to show that this is having an impact, or is likely to have an impact, on children’s experiences and progress. They must weigh up and balance evidence from more than one source to support making a requirement.

The requirement should refer to the specific regulation and should be detailed enough for the registered person to be clear about what they need to do to correct the breach of regulation and a date by which they should achieve this.

In deciding whether to impose a requirement, the inspector must assess the extent of the impact, or potential impact, on the experiences and progress of children and whether the matter could be dealt with more appropriately by making a recommendation.

The inspector will always impose requirements where there are significant concerns for the welfare, safety and quality of care for children.

14.2 Recommendations

Inspectors make recommendations when necessary to improve practice.

In 2015, the Department for Education published the Guide to the children’s homes regulations, including the quality standards (‘the Guide’) that explains and supplements the regulations.

The Guide is made under section 23 of the Care Standards Act 2000. Providers are required to take the Guide into account. Ofsted must also take it into account when making decisions under the Care Standards Act 2000.

The Guide replaced the national minimum standards. Registered persons must have regard to the Guide in interpreting and meeting the regulations. Where the registered person does not have regard to the Guide, this may result in a failure to meet the regulations. This may influence the inspection judgement and may result in requirements being imposed or recommendations being made.

In making a recommendation, inspectors should refer to the Guide. They should always provide enough detail to ensure that the registered person is clear what they need to do. The relevant part of the Guide should be summarised and the page and paragraph number included. Inspectors may also make recommendations in relation to other relevant statutory guidance such as:

If, during an inspection, the registered person rectifies a minor administrative error that has minimal impact on the experiences and progress of children, an inspector may not need to make a requirement or recommendation about that matter. However, they may refer to it in the leadership and management section of the report.

Where the registered person has failed to comply with a requirement within the timescale set by the inspector, we consider carefully whether it is necessary to take any enforcement action to address the breach and the associated risks to children and young people living in the home. Such action may include, but is not limited to, issuing a compliance notice.

Where the home has not acted on recommendations made at a previous inspection, the inspector considers carefully the impact of this on children and may impose a requirement.

14.3 Compliance notices and enforcement action

Ofsted’s compliance powers are set out in the Care Standards Act 2000 and associated regulations. Ofsted’s Social care compliance handbook (2014) has the details.

We serve a compliance notice following an inspection if:

  • we consider that this is the most appropriate way to promote the welfare of children or we believe that they are being harmed or at risk of harm or
  • a registered provider has failed to comply with a requirement made at an inspection and we consider that this is the most appropriate way to deal with this concern