Ofsted Say Visits Were Prioritised Due to Concerns about the Home

Newly released Ofsted data shows that the number of new children’s homes in England continues to rise. The same data shows that 861 homes received an assurance visit and were prioritised based on concerns about the home, dependent on the factors including:

  • poor safeguarding of children
  • ineffective management
  • poorly maintained homes
  • inadequate response to risks

104 of the homes that were visited were found to have serious concerns. Their previous inspection outcomes as of 31 March 2020 were: 1 (1%) outstanding, 41 (39%) good, 36 (35%) requires improvement to be good, and 4 (4%) inadequate. The remaining 22 (21%) homes had not previously been inspected. Of these 22 homes, 1 had resigned by 31 March 2021.

Data also shows that complaints have increased and while Ofsted continues to explore the reason behind the increases records show complaints were made about a quarter of registered children’s homes.

New Providers and Places

As of 31 March 2021, there was an 11% increase in the number of homes and an 8% increase in the number of places compared with 31 March 2020. Although there was a smaller gap between them this year, it continues the long-standing trend of the number of new homes rising faster than the number of new places.

All regions saw an increase in the number of children’s homes as of 31 March 2021.

Although all regions saw an increase in numbers, children’s homes are still not evenly distributed across England. The North West still accounts for just over a quarter of all children’s homes and almost a quarter of all places.

Almost 60% of all types of children’s homes (1,557) received a monitoring and/or assurance visit in 2020 to 2021.

Ofsted Data On Rezume

Children’s Homes of all Types

There were 2,706 children’s homes of all types as of 31 March 2021, a 10% increase (246 homes) from the previous year (2,460). This year saw a greater increase in children’s homes than the previous year when there was a 7% increase. These homes were registered for 12,732 places, a 5% increase from 12,175 as of 31 March 2020. In the previous year, the number of places had only grown by 1% (12,035 to 12,175 places).

Ofsted Inspection Outcomes

Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, 1,244 monitoring visits and 861 assurance visits were carried out to children’s homes of all types. Ofsted prioritised their visits based on either concern about children or the home’s most recent inspection judgements. Due to the pandemic, the statistics do not vary from March 2020 as Ofsted suspended their Inspections judgements. Across all inspected children’s homes, the overall effectiveness grade profile has not changed since the publication of children’s social care data in England 2020 as of 31 March 2020. Just over 80% of all children’s homes were judged good or outstanding, 18% requires improvement to be good, and 1% inadequate.

Assurance visits

As part of a phased return to routine inspection, from 1 September 2020, Ofsted started carrying out assurance visits to children’s social care services. At these visits, inspectors evaluated the extent to which:

  • children were well cared for
  • children were safe
  • leaders and managers were exercising strong leadership

Ofsted prioritised visits based on the most recent inspection judgements, other information they hold about the provider, the amount of time since the last inspection and whether the provider is newly registered and therefore has not yet been inspected.

Of the 861 prioritised homes visited, 12% (104) were found to have serious and widespread concerns. Many of these serious concerns related to the care or protection of children at the homes, specifically around:

  • poor safeguarding of children
  • ineffective management
  • poorly maintained homes
  • inadequate response to risks

Of the 104 homes that were found to have serious concerns, their previous inspection outcomes as of 31 March 2020 were: 1 (1%) outstanding, 41 (39%) good, 36 (35%) requires improvement to be good, and 4 (4%) inadequate. The remaining 22 (21%) homes had not previously been inspected. Of these 22 homes, 1 had resigned by 31 March 2021.

The 861 homes that received an assurance visit were prioritised based on concerns about the home, dependent on the factors already discussed above.

Unregistered Children’s Homes

Ofsted also receives and investigate notifications about potentially unregistered children’s homes. Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, Ofsted carried out 229 investigations into possible unregistered settings.

After investigation, just over a third of the 229 settings (83) did not need to be registered. Many of these were providers of supported accommodation and similar unregulated placements.

Just under two-thirds of settings (136) should have been registered with us as children’s homes. Around 60% of those unregistered settings (84) were sent a ‘cease and apply’ letter, encouraging them to apply to register with Ofsted as a children’s home. Others were either already in the process of registering with Ofsted or had ceased to operate as they no longer had children living there. For a very small number of cases, the investigation was still ongoing.

Complaints

The number of complaints about providers received in 2020 to 2021 was 18% higher than last year.

Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, we received 932 complaints about 629 providers. This is an increase in the number of complaints received in the previous 2 years (788 in 2019 to 2020 and 813 in 2018 to 2019). Ofsted continues to explore the reasons for the increase on complaints and aim to release this data in their annual report.

Ofsted also received 169 child protection notifications over the course of the year. This is higher than the number received in 2019 to 2020 (101 notifications) but in line with figures for 2018 to 2019 (166 notifications).

Further reading:

Ofsted Data 2021

Main Findings Ofsted Data