Tips to be Ofsted ready

As we all know, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) devised the social care common inspection framework (SCCIF) to be used from April 2017. The SCCIF applies to inspections of the following types of provisions: Children’s homes, including secure children’s homes, independent fostering agencies, boarding schools and residential schools, voluntary adoption agencies, adoption support agencies, residential family centres, residential holiday schemes for disabled children, and residential provisions in further education colleges.

Inspectors will use the SCCIF to make one of 4 judgements; Outstanding, good, requires improvement to be good, or inadequate.

This month’s blog provides 3 tips on what Ofsted will be looking for when they evaluate the ‘effectiveness of leaders and managers’. This is of course a graded judgement, so if inspectors judge this area to be inadequate the ‘overall experiences and progress’ judgement will be no better than requires improvement to be good.

 

Tips

Has the home been able to effectively challenge other agencies/organisations when their response or service delivery has been inadequate? The key word here is effectively; having a paper trail of emails is not sufficient if it hasn’t brought about the desired outcome. Use official complaints procedures, copy in the person’s manager where appropriate, and raise any concerns in reviews/professional meetings (making sure that the minute taker has made a note of what you have said).

Is the home working in accordance with its stated aims and objectives? The SOP must clearly set out the aims and objectives of the home and be kept under regular review. Inspectors will often generate a line of inquiry based on the homes SOP and may want to interview staff individually or collectively to determine their knowledge on certain aspects within it. To be ready, it’s good practice to factor the SOP into induction programmes, have a please read folder containing a hard copy of the most up-to-date version, and to sporadically take it to team meetings and staff supervisions for discussion.

What is the impact of children’s views and participation? There is a multitude of forums that can encapsulate the views of children including home meetings, reviews, consultation with the regulation 44 visitor, sanctions, debriefs following a serious incident, complaints, positive comment books etc., but are they effective? Home meetings provide a straightforward way to provide evidence of regular consultation as long as they are effectively. Simply holding the meetings themselves does not sufficiently demonstrate that young people’s views are being taken into account if there is no clear action or conclusion following each agenda.