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

29. Qualifications of registered managers and staff in children’s homes

The qualification requirements for managers and staff in children's homes.

29.1 Registered manager qualifications

Regulation 28 of the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 requires a registered manager to obtain the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management for Residential Care or an equivalent qualification.

If the manager was managing a home on 1 April 2014 they should have gained the qualification by 1 April 2017. Any manager starting to manage a home after 1 April 2014 has 3 years to gain it.

Regulation 28 does allow for the date to gain the qualification to be deferred if a manager has a break in managing a home or if they have worked part-time.

If a registered manager does not hold the level 5 qualification or equivalent and was managing any children’s home prior to April 2014, they are in breach of regulation 28 if they did not have a reason for a deferral. Inspectors should raise a requirement. This means that the judgement for the effectiveness of leaders and managers cannot be outstanding.

If the manager was appointed after April 2014, they have 3 years in which to complete the qualification. The inspector should check that the manager is undertaking the qualification and their estimated completion date. If they are not registered to undertake the qualification, or will not complete it by the relevant date (without good reason), inspectors should raise a requirement. This means that the judgement for the effectiveness of leaders and managers cannot be outstanding.

If the registered manager holds a qualification they regard as equivalent, they should explain to the inspector how their qualification meets the competencies in the level 5 diploma and any additional training they have completed to fill any gaps. If they cannot explain this satisfactorily then inspectors should raise a requirement. This means that the judgement for the effectiveness of leaders and managers cannot be outstanding.

29.2 Staff qualifications

Regulation 32 of the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 require children’s home staff to have the appropriate experience, qualifications and skills for the work they will perform. For staff in a care role, the regulation requires them to obtain the Level 3 Diploma for Residential Childcare or an equivalent qualification.

If the staff member was working in a care role in a home on 1 April 2014 they should have gained the qualification by 1 April 2016. Any staff starting to work in a care role after 1 April 2014 has 2 years to gain it.

Regulation 32 does allow for the date to gain the qualification to be deferred if the staff member has a break in working in a home or if they have worked part-time.

Inspectors should take the following into account:

  • the attitude and knowledge of the registered person in relation to staff training and development

  • the impact of lack of qualification/training on practice and in particular the quality of care provided to those living in the children’s home

  • the rationale and individual circumstances taken into account for staff who have been granted a deferral of the time period required to attain the qualification, and arrangements for review of that deferral

Where none (or very few) of the staff in a home are qualified, and there is no prospect that the remaining staff will achieve the qualification within 6 months or by the relevant date, the judgement for the effectiveness of leaders and managers is likely to be inadequate, and certainly no more than requires improvement. Only in exceptional circumstances can the home be judged good for the effectiveness of leaders and managers and inspectors must clearly explain these circumstances in the report.