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

22. Inspections where no children are living in the home

What happens if there are no children living in the home at the time of inspection.

If there are no children present at the first inspection after registration, an interim inspection is carried out. This focuses on whether the service continues to meet registration requirements. However, no judgement is given. The interim inspection report must be used and the following statement made in the report:

The home has not provided [accommodation] to [children and young people] since its registration on [insert date of registration]. This inspection focuses on whether the children’s home meets its statutory requirements in order to maintain its registration and is ready to accept placements. [Inspector to include any relevant text]

In these instances, Ofsted does not make a judgement about effectiveness. If the requirements of registration are not met, the inspector can raise requirements or recommendations.

Where a home has no children in placement at the time of the inspection but has accommodated since the last inspection and intends to admit children within the next 3 months, the inspector, in consultation with their manager, determines what the most appropriate type of inspection is. This is usually a full inspection. The inspection focuses on whether the registration requirements continue to be met, including appropriate management arrangements so that the home is suitable to accommodate children. The inspection also takes into account any changes the provider has made to improve the quality of the care provided.

If children have been accommodated since the last inspection, it may be possible to use information about their placements as evidence about the experiences and progress of children. Inspection activity can include talking to children who have recently left and the professionals who have worked with them.

Where a home does not have children living there, does not intend to take placements and plans to remain closed for some time, an interim inspection is undertaken and no judgement is made. A condition that the home notifies Ofsted if it intends to accept a placement is imposed by sending a notice of proposal to the provider and then a notice of decision. The condition must be worded as follows:

[The home] must inform Ofsted of its intention to admit children and young people 3 months before a child or young person’s placement commences.

In these instances, the text of the interim inspection report must contain the following statement:

[The home] has been closed for [state length of time]. The registered provider has indicated that the home will not be operational for [state length of time from the date of inspection]. Should the home decide to accept placements, it is required to inform Ofsted of its intention before it does so.

In these instances, Ofsted will not make a judgement about progress.

Where homes are subject to the condition of registration set out above, Ofsted will carry out at least 1 interim inspection during the inspection year if they were judged good or outstanding at their most recent full inspection. Inspectors should then consider whether a further interim inspection is needed during that inspection year. If the home was judged requires improvement to be good or inadequate at its most recent full inspection, or it has never had a full inspection, 2 interim inspections a year will be carried out.