Who is accountable?

The Children’s Homes Regulations 2015 are drafted to make the “Registered Person” accountable. This means either the Registered Provider (owner) or Registered Manager depending on how the home is organised, run and managed. For small organisations the Provider may be much more involved in the day to day running and in larger organisations the Registered Providers responsibilities are held by the Responsible Individual and the Registered Manager.

The role of the Responsible Individual in the children's home setting carries huge responsibility in overseeing the management and performance of the home.  We have included an example role specification at the end of this post. 

Do I need a responsible individual?

If you are registering as an organisation, you must appoint a nominated Registered Individual (RI) however individual providers will carry these responsibilities within the roles of Registered Provider and Registered Person.   The responsibilities are extensive, and you will need to understand the obligations as outlined in the Children’s Home Regulations, however here are a few pointers to get you into thinking about the role. 

Key responsibilities

The Responsible Individual’s (Registered Person) role is to supervise the management of the service.  They should have an understanding of both effective practices in responding to the needs of looked-after children and of local authority care planning duties and how children’s homes are required to support these. 

Ofsted, as the regulator of children’s homes, can at any time scrutinise the fitness of a Responsible Individual, either through inspection or as a stand-alone event. 

Regulation 26(7)(b) requires the Responsible Individual to have the capacity, experience and skills to supervise the management of each children’s home that they are Responsible Individual for. This will include being able to demonstrate that they have the essential skills needed to develop the leadership and management of homes within their remit such that the homes have the capacity and capability to meet the Quality Standards. There is no limit to the number of homes that a person can be appointed as Responsible Individual for, but they must be able to demonstrate that they can effectively supervise the management of each home individually, as well as all of the homes overall. 

Registered Individuals hold a key leadership role in their services. They have overall responsibility for supervising the management of the service and for ensuring the quality of the services provided. The children’s home quality standards are clear in their intention to directly link between the level of leadership and the level of quality in a service. So the quality of the services provided in your organisation is, in a very real sense, down to the leadership you show in your role as Registered Individual.

The Registered Provider

The “registered provider” means the person who is registered under Part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000 as the person carrying on the home;  The Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015.

The registered provider may be: 

  • An individual 
  • A partnership: when a partnership makes an application to register, each person in the partnership must apply and be granted registration. 
  • An organisation: this includes companies, limited liability partnerships, un-incorporated associations, such as committee-run provisions and statutory bodies, such as local authorities. Ofsted will need to know about all the individuals that comprise the registered provider. This could be the director, manager, secretary, clerk, treasurer, trustee and any other similar officers. You must provide the details of all those who hold office and include a nominated responsible individual.

The Registered Person

The “registered person” means the registered provider or the registered manager of the home; The Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015

The Responsible Individual (Organisations)

The “responsible individual” means an individual who— 

(a) is a director, manager, secretary or another officer of an organisation which is the registered provider; and 

(b) is nominated by that organisation for the purpose of supervising the management of the home on behalf of the organisation; 

The Registered Manager

The “responsible manager” means a person who is registered under Part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000 as the manager of the home;

The Children's Homes (England) Regulations 2015.

Key Roles

The key roles in regulation are being the point of contact and supervising the management of the regulated home. It is helpful if the expectations associated with these are laid out in more detail in a role specification at the point of nomination of an individual. Such a specification should say both what is expected of the role holder and what the organisation will do by way of support. A key expectation is to ensure that there are adequate numbers of staff in place, that the necessary resources and equipment are in place, that the staff are sufficiently trained and that vulnerable people are safe from harm and abuse. Ultimately, a failure in any of these areas will be the responsibility of the Responsible Individual as well as the organisation. The requirement to supervise the management of the home means that people in the role must have strong leadership and communication skills and the ability to work effectively in partnership with the Registered Manager. 

Management Supervision

Management Supervision, which holds managers to account for the services they deliver, but also offers the opportunity for review and personal and service development planning. Management supervision enables the Responsible Individual to discuss all aspects of the services and is one of the ways to be assured that services are being delivered to a good quality standard. This type of supervision should also provide information about a range of indicators that may flag areas of possible concern such as high sickness levels, high staff turnover and an increase in complaints.

The Responsible Individual may not able to offer professional supervision personally, either because of other demands or because they do not have the necessary professional experience. A mentor, a clinical supervisor or a trained peer can provide professional supervision; it may be necessary to purchase these services if there is no-one within the organisation with the professional competence to provide it.

The statement of purpose as a benchmark tool

Responsible Individuals can use the Statement of Purpose as the basis for measuring that the service is providing what it should be. The most important aspect of what any service provides is the quality of life for the people who use it. The service should be able to show that it has improved the quality of life for the children and young people. The role of a Responsible Individual in supervising the management of service provision is about much more than just making sure that all of the Ofsted requirements are met. It is about ensuring that the systems and processes enable the service to feel confident that it is achieving well and providing a high-quality service. 

The Statement of Purpose is about more than simply complying with registration requirements by providing a few words about the service. This should reflect what the service is intending to achieve, why it exists and what it offers. It should also be what drives the business and forms the basis for strategic and operational planning. All elements of business planning should relate back to the aims and objectives outlined in the Statement of Purpose. 

Point of contact

The Responsible Individual is much more than a point of contact; they are the person able to develop relationships and participate in joint working. The ‘public face’ of the organisation is an important role in an increasingly commercial market. Effective marketing is informed by market intelligence, much of which comes from being actively involved in linking to the local community, working in partnership with commissioners and ensuring the regulators have regular and current information. The Registered Manager may value support in some challenging situations or difficult meetings, and the responsible Individual can provide an important addition to the strategic element of the organisation.

Role or Job Specification

The role or job specification will vary depending on your organisation and how the role is accommodated.  Here are some suggestions on what that role might include,

Develop role responsibilities

Ensuring that each person of the team knows what they are accountable for will help determine how each role functions.

Ensure regulations are met

Decide who will be overseeing each area of your accountabilities and how these will be managed and supervised.

Be clear on accountability

Commit to accountability in your organisation who is going to undertake each duty and how will you oversee these?

  • The responsible individual is the main point of contact between the Company and Ofsted. It is their responsibility to ensure the standards are met and regulations complied with. The responsible individual must have a working knowledge of the regulations and standards, and work with Senior Management Teams. 
  • Ensuring the requirements of the Children’s Homes Quality Standards and Regulations 2015 and the Single Social Care Inspection Framework are embedded in the practice of the home. 
  • Reviewing and assessing the implementation of any Ofsted action plans from previous inspections or quality action plans including outcomes from Regulation 44 visits within timescales.
  • Acting as a point of contact with Ofsted and ensuring that the compliance requirements of the home are actioned, and outcomes in the home are delivered and measured. 
  • The responsible individual must maintain and update relevant knowledge in relation to the care and support provided, through the reading of relevant materials, attendance on training and refresher courses as necessary to perform the role effectively. 
  • The responsible individual must satisfy Ofsted at all times that they are ‘fit for purpose’ in accordance with the requirements of the Children’s Home Regulations. 
  • The responsible individual is responsible for ensuring that the suitability of the location of the children’s home is kept under continuous review and that they support the team in ensuring it remains a suitable location.
  • To ensure that the care and support offered in the home provide children and young people with the opportunity to make progress and have positive experiences.
  • Ensure that the home is lead and managed in such a way as to be consistent with the approach and ethos of the home, and delivers the outcomes, set out in the Statement of Purpose. 
  • Support the manager in leading a culture in the home that helps children and young people aspire to their full potential and promotes their welfare.
  • Ensure there is sufficient staffing in the home to provide for the care of each child or young person and that staff have the experience, qualifications and skills to meet the needs and provide continuity of care for each child or young person.  
  • Ensure that monitoring and review systems are implemented that enable the manager to understand the impact the quality of care is having on the progress and experiences of children and young people and use this information to inform and develop the quality of care provided.
  • Ensure that the service actively promotes tolerance, equality and diversity.
  • Support the staff team to develop positive relationships with children and young people and engage with them appropriately taking into account their views and wishes in all aspects relating to their care, welfare and lives. 
  • Provide regular reports that demonstrate how children are making appropriate and measurable progress towards achieving their educational potential. 
  • Ensure the home has a routine and culture that ensures children and young people benefit from a variety of experiences and activities that meet their needs and develop and reflect their, creative, cultural, intellectual, physical and social interests and skills.
  • Ensure that staff meet children and young people’s health needs including mental health and well-being and that they receive the advice, services and support they need including how to lead healthy lifestyles.
  • Ensure the home follows relevant statutory guidance and legislation to ensure that children and young people are helped and protected from harm (including neglect, abuse, sexual exploitation, accidents, self-harm, bullying and radicalisation) and enabled to keep themselves safe.
  • Ensure the home has effective procedures in place to manage the risk of children and young people going missing and to support the team to reduce those risks. 
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