Supported accommodation can be vital for young people leaving care and transitioning into independent living. Supported accommodation should provide a safe and supportive environment where young people can develop their independence while receiving the necessary support to achieve positive outcomes. In this beginner’s guide, we will explore what supported accommodation is, who it is for, and why quality standards are essential in ensuring that young people receive high-quality support.
What is Supported Accommodation?
Supported accommodation, as defined in The Supported Accommodation (England) Regulations 2023, is a type of accommodation that provides support to young people aged 16 and 17 who are looked after by the local authority or care leavers. The aim of supported accommodation is to help these young people develop their independence in preparation for adult living while keeping them safe in a homely and nurturing environment.
Who is Supported Accommodation For?
Supported accommodation is intended for young people aged 16 and 17 who are looked after by the local authority or care leavers. These young people may have experienced various difficulties in their lives, such as family breakdown, abuse, neglect, or other forms of trauma. They require support to develop their independence in preparation for adult living while keeping them safe in a homely and nurturing environment.
The Importance of Quality Standards in Supported Accommodation
The Quality Standards are essential to the regulatory framework for supported accommodation. They set out the outcomes that providers must meet for young people in supported accommodation, and they allow flexibility in how this is achieved, recognising that individual young people have different needs and therefore require different degrees and forms of support.
The Quality Standards are important because they provide a clear framework for ensuring that young people in supported accommodation receive high-quality care and support. They cover four key areas: leadership and management, protection, accommodation, and support. Each standard includes a set of outcomes that providers must achieve to ensure that young people are safe, well-supported, and able to develop their independence in preparation for adult living.
By complying with the Quality Standards, providers can demonstrate that they deliver high-quality services that meet the needs of young people in supported accommodation. This can help build trust with local authorities, commissioners, and other stakeholders interested in improving outcomes for vulnerable young people. It can also help improve the sector’s reputation by promoting best practices and driving up standards across all supported accommodation settings.
The Quality Standards
The Quality Standards are four standards that providers of supported accommodation must meet. These standards cover leadership and management, protection, accommodation, and support. Each standard contains an overarching outcome statement with young people at its heart, followed by a set of measurable requirements that providers must achieve in meeting each standard.
- The Protection Standard (Regulation 5) sets out the requirements to protect young people from harm and abuse. This includes having policies and procedures to safeguard young people, providing appropriate training for staff members, and ensuring that young people have access to advocacy services.
- The Accommodation Standard (Regulation 6) sets out the requirements for ensuring that young people can access safe and suitable accommodation. This includes providing a clean and comfortable living environment, ensuring that accommodation meets health and safety standards, and provides appropriate cooking, washing, and personal care facilities.
- The Support Standard (Regulation 7) sets out the requirements for ensuring that young people receive the necessary support to achieve positive outcomes. This includes providing access to education, training, and employment opportunities, as well as help with managing finances, developing life skills, and accessing healthcare services.
- The Leadership and Management Standard (Regulation 8) outlines the requirements for effectively managing supported accommodation. This includes having clear policies and procedures in place, providing appropriate training for staff members, involving young people in decision-making around their care, and regularly monitoring and evaluating the quality of support offered.
Providing high-quality accommodation is essential in supporting young people preparing to leave care. The 2023 Guide to the Supported Accommodation Regulations and Quality Standards establishes standards that ensure young people receive high-quality support during their transition to independent living. Local authorities must choose providers that meet these standards to ensure that vulnerable young people receive the necessary support. With the proper support, young people leaving care can have a better chance of achieving positive outcomes, such as education, employment, and stable housing. Therefore, providers must continue to invest in supported accommodation and other forms of support for young people leaving care to help them succeed in their transition to adulthood.