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

9. Scheduling and the inspection team

How an inspection is scheduled and who makes up the team.

9.1 Frequency and scheduling of inspections

We inspect residential family centres at least once during every 3-year inspection cycle as required by the regulations.

The scheduling of inspections takes account of:

  • previous inspection findings
  • complaints and concerns about the service
  • returned questionnaires from parents, social workers and other stakeholders
  • notifications
  • the contents of monitoring reports given to Ofsted by residential family centres under regulations 23, 25 and 26 of the Residential family centres regulations 2002 (as amended)

9.2 Length of inspection

For a full inspection of a residential family centre, an inspector usually spends a maximum of 2 days on site, spread over 3 days.

The inspector and the regulatory inspection manager (RIM) should decide how best to allocate resources for inspections. If it’s necessary, the RIM should agree to either the inspector spending additional days on site or additional inspectors being deployed on the inspection.

Inspectors should consider whether:

  • the amount of time on site should be reduced, such as when only a very small number of assessments have been undertaken since the previous inspection
  • additional resources, such as more inspectors or more time or both, should be deployed, for example at larger centres, or where there are specific issues such as a serious incident to consider

9.3 Deferrals

Inspections will not normally be deferred. Absence or unavailability of staff (unless the provider is a single person) or accommodation issues such as refurbishment will not usually be reasons for deferral. If no staff are available, the inspector should contact the responsible individual or person in charge to arrange access.

An inspection will only be deferred when it might place children or others at risk if it goes ahead or if the ability to gather secure evidence is severely restricted. These conditions might include:

  • serious weather conditions that make access to sites difficult or dangerous or both
  • a serious incident where the presence of an inspector would have an adverse impact on the safety and well-being of children, young people or adults

Decisions about deferrals are agreed by the regulatory inspection manager (RIM).