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Ofsted launches consultation for inspecting supported accommodation

The consultation will provide the sector with the opportunity to share its views on how supported accommodation should be inspected.

The consultation runs from 10 July to 8 September 2023 and will inform our arrangements for inspections starting in April 2024. We began accepting applications to register providers of supported accommodation in April 2023, when regulations came into force. Regulation and inspection will provide essential oversight and assess whether children in supported accommodation are safe and well supported.

The consultation is an opportunity for providers, children, care leavers and the wider sector to give their views on proposals relating to inspection outcomes, the notice we give for inspections and the main features of effective supported accommodation.

Inspection outcomes

For the first round of inspections, we propose that there should be 3 possible outcomes for inspections of supported accommodation:

Consistently strong service delivery leads to typically positive experiences and progress for children. Where improvements are needed, leaders and managers take timely and effective action.

Inconsistent quality of service delivery adversely affects children’s experiences and limits their progress. Leaders and managers must make improvements.

Serious or widespread weaknesses lead to significant concerns about the experiences and progress of children. Leaders and managers must take urgent action to address failings.

This proposal reflects the unique context and wide scope of the supported accommodation, providing a nuanced statement of quality across extremely diverse provision.

As this is a newly regulated sector that does not yet have an established benchmark for excellence, there is no outcome that identifies exceptional practice.

We will use the learning from the first round of inspections to inform longer-term inspection arrangements in the future, including how we make judgements.

Notice of inspection

We propose to give 2 working days’ notice of inspection to providers. This is the minimum notice required to deliver effective and efficient inspections and is consistent with the notice that we give for other ‘provider-level’ social care inspections.

Main features of effective supported accommodation

Our inspections of supported accommodation providers will lead to outcomes that consider the following areas of evidence:

  • overall experiences and progress of children
  • how well children are helped and protected
  • the effectiveness of leaders and managers

To help shape the final evaluation criteria, we want to hear views on the main features of effective supported accommodation. These views, in addition to existing research and the views of care-experienced community, will help make sure inspections focus on what makes the most difference to children living in supported accommodation.

Notes to editors

  1. A children and young person’s version of the consultation will be published by 19 July.

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