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

19. Interim inspections

Information about interim inspections.

19.1 Timeline

The usual timeframe for interim inspections in working days is:

Day Interim inspection activity
1 Preparation/site visit
2 Site visit/drafting report
3–7 Inspection evidence and report submitted for quality assurance
15 Report sent to the registered provider for any comments on factual accuracy within a maximum of 13 working days of the end of the inspection
20 Provider returns the report within 5 working days with any comments on factual accuracy
30 The final report will be published on the Ofsted website within a maximum of 28 working days of the end of the inspection

19.2 Grading interim inspection findings

For interim inspections, inspectors make their judgements using a 3-point scale. An interim inspection focuses on the effectiveness of the home and the experiences and progress of children and young people since the most recent full inspection.

Interim inspections focus on the following areas:

  • an evaluation of the experiences and progress of children since the last inspection and the difference the home is making:
    • where children have left the home since the last inspection, inspectors must focus on the reasons why the young person has left (well-planned and facilitated move or placement breakdown) and the contribution the manager, key workers and staff have made to the plans for their future
    • where children are newly resident in the home or the service is a short break service, the inspector must assess the quality of the planning and transition work, the knowledge and understanding of the needs of the young person, the arrangements to work directly with children to help them, and the ability of the staff to meet those needs effectively; inspectors will take into account the views of children
  • the effectiveness of leaders and managers in monitoring the quality of care and professional practice that children receive, their ability to identify where improvement can and should happen and, where they prioritise areas for development, the effectiveness and impact of their improvements
  • an overview of the experiences of children since the last inspection, including significant incidents, notifications, complaints and incidents of restraint; inspectors must assess whether children are protected, how well staff and managers have responded and how well they have used opportunities for learning to improve the experiences for children
  • how well the manager and staff have worked in partnership with others to support the progress of, and improve the experiences of children
  • the home’s response to the requirements and recommendations made at the last inspection

The inspector reports on each of these areas unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so.

Inspectors use their professional judgement to determine whether the home’s effectiveness has improved, been sustained or declined since the last inspection.

Where the post of registered manager has been vacant for more than 26 weeks, this will usually lead to a judgement that the children’s home has declined in its effectiveness.

Where the home has declined in effectiveness, the inspector and a RIM consider whether to hold a case review to determine next steps based on the seriousness and impact of the concerns identified.

19.3 Reporting findings at interim inspections

Each interim inspection is followed by a single report that sets out the inspection findings using text and a grade, organised under the headings below.

19.4 Report contents

Service information Brief contextual information about the service
Previous inspection The last inspection judgement
Enforcement activity since the last inspection A brief summary of any enforcement activity we have taken since the last inspection
The judgement at the most recent full inspection and the evaluation of effectiveness at this inspection Improved, sustained or declined
Recent inspection history Inspection judgements from recent years
Areas for improvement No grade
Information about this inspection Information about the legal basis for the inspection