21. Inspecting residential family centres where there are no families
What happens if there are no families at the centre at the time of inspection.
We usually inspect residential family centres within 12 months of registration. Wherever possible, the first inspection of a centre will not be carried out until a family is staying there, as long as this means the centre can be inspected within the 3-year inspection cycle.
If there are no families living at the centre, the inspector should contact the centre to find out if it is due to accept a family and decide whether a planned inspection should be postponed.
If there are no placements at the time of the inspection and families have been accommodated since the last inspection, it may be possible to use information about their placements as evidence.
Inspectors should take account of the length of time since the last family left and the likely evidence that can be collected to support the inspection judgements.
Where a residential family centre does not intend to take placements and will remain closed for some time, the inspector will complete the inspection and impose a condition that the centre will notify Ofsted if it intends to accept a placement.
The condition must be worded on the certificate as follows:
The residential family centre:
- must inform Ofsted of its intention to admit families 3 months before a placement commences
The text of the inspection report must contain the following statement:
The residential family centre has been closed for [state length of time]. The registered provider has indicated that the residential family centre will not be operational for [state length of time] from the date of inspection.
Should the centre decide to accept placements, it is required to inform Ofsted of its intention before it does so.