We were commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) in autumn 2015 to carry out a small-scale study exploring early experiences of implementing the new regulations and Quality Standards for children’s homes which replaced the National Minimum Standards.
The study involved interviews and a workshop with home managers and other key stakeholders between October 2015 and January 2016.
Our final report was published in April 2016. Key findings included:
- Initial reactions to the new standards and regulations were, overall, quite positive.
- Implementation resulted in changes being made either to written policies and ways of recording 'only' or to both care home practice and written information and records.
- Managers reported encountering a number of challenges including measuring progress and outcomes, enabling staff to record effectively without sacrificing time with children and concern that managers' own judgements could conflict with inspectors.
- Managers and stakeholders benefitted from support in meeting the standards including help from external managers, placing local authorities, regulation 44 visitors, the Quality Standards Partnership and Ofsted.
- It was considered too early to fully assess the impact of the Quality Standards, although there were early indications that the changes within homes (and the sector) in response to the standards were making a difference.