Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): residential family centres

13. Making requirements and recommendations

What inspectors must do when imposing requirements and making recommendations.

13.1 Requirements

Inspectors impose requirements when there has been a breach of a regulation.

When imposing a requirement, the inspector must make sure there is enough evidence to support the breach and be able to show that this is having an impact, or is likely to have an impact, on children and parents’ 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 be detailed enough for the registered person to be clear what they need to do to correct the breach and a date by which they should achieve this.

In deciding whether to impose a requirement, the inspector must assess the extent of the 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 and parents.

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.

13.2 Recommendations

Inspectors make recommendations to improve practice.

In making a recommendation, the inspector should refer to the national minimum standards (NMS) for residential family centres. They should always give enough detail for the manager in charge to know 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:

If, during an inspection, the registered person rectifies a minor administrative error that has minimal impact on the experiences and progress of children and parents, 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 will consider carefully whether it is necessary to take any enforcement action to address the breach and the associated risks to children and parents. Such action may include, but is not limited to, issuing a compliance notice.

Where the provider has not acted on recommendations made at a previous inspection, the inspector will consider carefully the impact of this on children and parents and may impose a requirement.

13.3 Compliance notices and enforcement action

Ofsted’s compliance powers are set out in the Care Standards Act 2000 and associated regulations. Ofsted’s Social care compliance handbook (2014) has the details.

We serve a compliance notice following an inspection if:

  • we consider this to be the best way to promote the welfare of children or we believe they are at risk of harm
  • a registered provider has failed to comply with a requirement made at an inspection and we consider this to be the best way to deal with it