13. Making requirements and recommendations
What inspectors must do when imposing requirements and making recommendations.
Inspectors impose requirements when there has been a breach of a regulation.
When imposing a requirement, inspectors must ensure that there is sufficient 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.
Sometimes the registered person needs to take action to meet a requirement that they can complete quickly. Inspectors can impose a requirement with a date that is likely to be before the registered person will receive their inspection report. Here, the inspector must be clear at the inspection feedback what the requirement and its deadline is.
Inspectors make recommendations to improve practice.
In making a recommendation, inspectors should refer to the NMS for fostering services. They should always give enough detail for the manager in charge to be clear what they need to do. The relevant part of NMS should be summarised. Inspectors may also make recommendations in relation to other relevant statutory guidance such as:
- ‘Working together to safeguard children’ (DfE, 2015)
- ‘Statutory guidance for children who run away or go missing from home or care’ (DfE, 2014)
If, during an inspection, the registered person rectifies a minor administrative error that has minimal impact on the experiences and progress of children, the 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. Such action may include, but is not limited to, issuing a compliance notice.
Where the agency 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.
13.3 Compliance notices and enforcement action
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 at risk of harm or being harmed 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