It can be tough having a Regulation 44 visitor scrutinise every inch of your residential children’s homes. The truth is a robust Regulation 44 process can help save you from endless attention from Ofsted and resulting restrictions on your registration or in the worst-case scenario, removal of your registration.  So what are the secrets to ensuring your residential children’s homes Regulation 44 visit is a successful event and not a tooth clenching experience?

I recently asked one of our clients for feedback on our Regulation visits. She said,

‘It was difficult at first not to be defensive. I think we are getting better at that. I was talking to our Ofsted Inspector and had mentioned to her it did seem that sometimes the reports seemed a bit picky. The Inspector told me this is exactly what you want and need’. ‘The Inspector from our other home said, ‘The Independent Visitors actively challenge the Manager and help drive improvement, their report and their insight is excellent.’

The provider said that they had learned to see the regulation reports as an opportunity to improve and develop.

I asked the provider to share their top 5 secrets to a successful Regulation 44 visit and have shared these below.

 Welcome independent scrutiny

Look for Independent visitors who are not afraid to pro-actively challenge practice, critically appraise and make recommendations for improvement that will be of most benefit to your organisation and your service. Ofsted considers the effectiveness of Regulation 44 visit reports and how they form an impartial judgment about the quality of the care we offer. It is important to let them be independent and to say it as it is.


Don’t be offended by recommendations for improvement

It can feel uncomfortable encouraging and accepting criticism, but a good Regulation 44 visitor will have your young people’s and your organisations’ best interests at heart. Try to see recommendations as part of the solution, not part of the problem. Adopt a partnership attitude accepting your visitor as a critical friend. The right Regulation 44 visitor can positively impact practice and development alongside highlighting strengths and areas for improvement.

Encourage Them to Dig Deeper

Transparency is a positive process enabling hotspots to be addressed before they become volcanos. The Regulation 44 visitor is better pointing out problems that we can fix before Ofsted point them out!  Ask your Regulation 44 visitor to challenge your practice.

Take Action

Acting on and responding to the Regulation 44 visitors recommendations in a concise well-thought-out action plan can support service development. The plan can double up as a service improvement plan and provide evidence of continuous service progress.  If there are actions in the plan that you disagree with, talk to the visitor, challenge their comments and always provide a good response to their recommendations. Use your Regulation 44 as a benchmark tool and to evidence your quality improvements and progress.

Use the Regulation 44 report to evidence children and young people’s outcomes

A good regulation visitor will provide a report that shows how we are meeting and where applicable exceeding the standards. Regulation visits provide an opportunity for us to demonstrate how we meet children and young people’s needs and how we help them to achieve positive outcomes. A positive response to the actions we receive in our report demonstrates a pro-active commitment to strengthen areas of weakness and drive up standards.