Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): voluntary adoption agencies

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, inspectors must ensure that there is enough 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 and adults’ 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 other service users, 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 other service users.

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, inspectors should refer to the NMS for voluntary adoption agencies. 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:

If, during an inspection, the agency rectifies a minor administrative error that has minimal impact on the experiences and progress of children and adult service users, an 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 agency 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 or adults. 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 adults 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 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

13.4 Action to be taken following inadequate judgements

Any inspection judgement of inadequate for the overall experiences and progress of children and adults will lead to an urgent case review.

The case review considers whether statutory enforcement action is required in relation to the agency and responsible individual. The Social care compliance handbook has detailed information about the enforcement options available and the arrangements for following up enforcement activity.

The timing and nature of subsequent inspection and monitoring visits following a judgement of inadequate are set on a case-by-case basis and depend on any improvement made.

Where concerns are serious, we are likely to return to conduct a monitoring visit to check that the responsible individual has taken appropriate steps to safeguard and protect the welfare of service users. Monitoring visits usually result in a published report, although regulatory inspection managers (RIMs) can decide not to publish monitoring reports in exceptional circumstances.

An inspection visit takes place sooner if any further significant concerns arise during the period or if an earlier inspection is necessary to make statutory requirements to safeguard and protect the welfare of service users.