Definition of Supported Accommodation

Local authorities place most of the children they look after in foster care or in a registered children’s home. Local authorities can, however, place looked-after children in placements in accordance with “other arrangements” under section s.22C(6)(d) of the Children Act 1989 and when arranging accommodation for care leavers where the young person’s welfare requires it, local authorities must arrange “suitable accommodation” (s.23B(8)(b) Children Act 1989).

In the first set of regulations laid before Parliament on 18 July 2022, the Government defined “supported accommodation” as accommodation in England in which a child is accommodated pursuant to section 22C(6)(d) or 23B(8)(b) of the Children Act 1989, subject to specified exceptions, which are already in some way regulated and would not be considered to be supported accommodation and therefore should not be regulated as such. As with all placements where local authorities place looked-after children and care leavers in supported accommodation, they must ensure that this meets the needs of the young person and keeps them safe.

Timeline for Legislative Changes

On 18 July 2022, the Government laid before Parliament the first set of regulations for the reforms to supported accommodation for 16- and 17-year-old looked-after children and care leavers. This was the first step in delivering reforms to ensure young people are accommodated in settings that meet their needs and keep them safe. This first set of regulations was limited to extending parts of the Care Standards Act 2000, which gives the Secretary of State powers to develop and consult on the more substantive regulations which form this consultation.

These more substantive regulations, to be laid in early 2023, will introduce the Quality Standards and Ofsted regime, enabling Ofsted to begin registering providers from Spring 2023 before registration becomes mandatory from October 2023. From October 2023, local authorities will not be permitted to place or arrange accommodation for looked-after children and care leavers in supported accommodation that is not registered with Ofsted or has not submitted a complete application by 30 September 2023 as per the transitional arrangements.

Providers operating without registration or without having submitted a complete application by 30 September will be committing an offence for which Ofsted will be able to prosecute. Ofsted will begin to inspect registered providers from April 2024.

Source: Department for Education