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

9. Notice

The length of notice given before an inspection and the information we request.

9.1 Notice of an inspection

All inspections of children’s homes are unannounced.

We ask homes to give the inspector access to premises and records and space for the inspector to work. The inspector may need some help to navigate the system where records are electronic. Homes don’t need to provide files in hard copy unless these are already used, although the inspector may ask for specific reports or documents to be printed.

9.2 Request for information at an inspection

When notification of an inspection is given, inspectors give the provider a copy of Annex A of the inspection framework and agree when the information be available.

This information is requested under section 31 of the Care Standards Act. The information supports the inspection process and informs the inspection findings.

Providers can download a copy and keep this updated in preparation for their full inspection and send this electronically to the inspector during the inspection. Some of the information is stored by Ofsted for data analysis purposes. No personal data is stored. The inspector should enter the Annex A data onto the inspection database and then scan the remaining pages up to question 26, and upload to the inspection database.

Inspectors use Annex A data to generate lines of enquiry about the safety and welfare of children. Specifically, inspectors want to assure themselves that:

  • where children are considered to be at risk of, or subject to, child sexual exploitation or extremism, all agencies including the relevant local authorities are working together to support the child
  • return home interviews are being offered when children have been missing from the home
  • children are receiving the educational provision as outlined in their relevant plan
  • there are plans in place to ensure that staff have an appropriate qualification in order to meet regulation 32 of the Children’s homes (England) regulations 2015

Where a placing authority or other agency has not fulfilled their statutory duties or met the child’s needs as identified in their care plan, the inspector should evaluate the action the manager has taken. Inspectors must inform the relevant senior HMI of any placing authorities that have not offered and then arranged a return home interview for any child who has been missing from the home (without good reason) or where they have concerns that a local authority is not meeting its statutory duties.