Since April 2023, the National Children’s Bureau has been working with providers and local authorities offering supported accommodation for looked after children and care leavers aged 16 and 17 to ensure they are able to register with Ofsted and implement mandatory national quality standards.
October 28th was an important milestone for the Government’s programme of regulation for the supported accommodation sector, marking the date that the Supported Accommodation (England) Regulations and Quality Standards came into force. Now, existing providers of supported accommodation need to have an application accepted by Ofsted as complete to operate legally. This means that all providers delivering supported accommodation will be required to register with and be inspected by Ofsted, a key step forward in driving up standards for support and protection of young people in care.
In the lead up to this milestone, the National Children’s Bureau has been delivering their Sector Awareness and Provider Preparedness programme, engaging over 1,000 providers of supported accommodation and over 120 local authorities through conferences, training, events, workshops, and webinars, and a series of bespoke resources, information packs and learning tools. Listening to feedback from providers and local authorities, we were able to target support on some of the key areas of the Regulations, such as quality assurance, safeguarding, policy development, and approaches to co-production with young people in care. This next phase of the programme will aim to ensure that supported accommodation providers and local authorities engage with every stage of the Ofsted registration process and inspection regime, as well as enabling providers to implement the national quality standards.
Until then, we encourage providers and local authorities to continue to engage with the resources and learning tools on our programme website and Digital Learning Platform and to stay up to date with developments on our community of practice forums and newsletter here.