Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): independent fostering agencies

7. National minimum standards (NMS)

How inspectors use the NMS.

Independent fostering agencies must follow the requirements of the regulations. Where they do not, inspectors identify clearly what they must do by setting out requirements or compliance or enforcement action.

The Department for Education also publishes national minimum standards (NMS). Failure by providers to meet the national minimum standards may indicate a failure to meet the regulations. This may influence the inspection judgement and may result in requirements being imposed and/or enforcement action being taken. Inspectors consider carefully the impact on children and other service users and how it should influence the judgements and outcome of the inspection, including any enforcement action.

A failure to meet a regulation does not automatically lead to a judgement of requires improvement to be good. We may still make requirements when providers are judged to be good.

We will use recommendations to indicate where practice can improve. These are always related to the relevant NMS and regulation/s.