How long can an establishment or agency operate without a manager?

Ofsted has removed the 26 week period an establishment can operate without a manager in post. The reason for this is to reduce the amount of time that establishments and agencies have no registered manager and to help to improve the experiences and progress of children. Where a provider has in place an interim manager during the period of vacancy there is an expectation that this post will be for no more than 90 days after which the interim manager would be expected to register.  Ofsted will take the absence of a manager into consideration under the leadership and management outcome in terms of inspection outcomes and in considering compliance action.

The registered provider should take all reasonable steps to appoint a new manager as soon as possible. If there is any delay in taking reasonable steps to appoint a new manager, the provider must inform Ofsted immediately, setting out the reasons why.

Steps you must take when no manager is in post

  • Reasonable steps mean that as soon as possible, there is an updated job specification, the position has been advertised with a clear closing date and the interview dates have been set.
  • The provider must also set out how the conduct of the home is being suitably managed in the interim period.

Impact on services without a manager

  • Ofsted will monitor any establishment or agency where there is no registered manager (this includes where there is no manager or where there is a manager but they are not registered). Ofsted will write to the manager and/or the provider in these situations.
  • At inspection, if there is no registered manager in post and no application in progress without reasonable cause, this will affect the inspection judgement when outcomes for children are negatively affected.
  • The inspection evaluation criteria for inadequate have been changed to ‘The provider has not taken effective and timely steps to appoint an appropriate, permanent manager within a reasonable timeframe and/or the appointed manager has not registered as soon as possible.’
  • The criteria for declined in effectiveness at interim inspections has also changed to ‘If the provider has not taken effective and timely steps to appoint an appropriate, permanent manager within a reasonable timeframe and/or the appointed manager has not applied to be registered, then the judgement is likely to be declined in effectiveness.’

Interim management arrangements

  • Ofsted expects a registered provider to have plans in place which outline what they will do if their registered manager leaves or is absent for more than 28 days.
  • A person who is to be in charge of an establishment or agency for an interim period without registration is defined as the interim manager. In these situations, Ofsted expects registered providers to ensure that any interim management arrangements fully protect and promote children’s safety and welfare and that they regularly monitor that the interim manager is effective.
  • Interim management arrangements should be in place for the shortest time possible. Ofsted will continue to assess whether the arrangements are effective based on the information they hold, including notifications, monthly monitoring reports and quality assurance assessments.
  • If the interim manager is expected to be in day-to-day charge for more than 90 days they must also register with Ofsted. They expect to receive an application to register from a manager at the earliest opportunity. Where they have not received an application within a maximum of 90 days from the date that the interim arrangements began, they will take this into account in their evaluation of the effectiveness of leaders and managers at the next inspection and in considering compliance action.
  • Registered providers must also notify Ofsted that a registered manager will be, or has been, absent for more than 28 days. They must do this at least one month before a known absence of the manager. Where the absence arises as a result of an emergency, the registered provider must notify us within one week of the start of the absence.

Source Ofsted