Ofsted’s 2007/08 Annual Report states that most social care provided for children in children’s homes, adoption and fostering agencies, and residentially in educational establishments, is at least satisfactory overall and two thirds is good or outstanding. However, one in 12 providers is inadequate, which is a real cause for concern.
Nine out of 10 children’s homes, which are inspected twice each year, are satisfactory or better and two thirds are good or outstanding. In inadequate children’s homes, safeguarding and management are the areas requiring the most improvement.
In the best services, children say they feel safe and are well informed about the issues regarding their safety. Their privacy is respected and they’re positive about their relationships with staff. Generally, staff are well trained and vigilant and there are clear procedures for safeguarding, preventing bullying, and managing complaints, behaviour, and health and safety.
National Minimum Standards and regulations for private fostering arrangements came into force in 2005. These standards are still not fully met by all providers, and local authorities are inconsistent in the attention and resources they give to monitoring private fostering arrangements. This calls into question the ability of some local authorities to improve the quality of provision in this sector.
Ofsted invited social care providers to evaluate the usefulness of inspection in helping them to improve the quality of their services. The most recent data shows that 92% of children’s homes and 84% of other providers believe that their inspections identified the correct issues and areas for improvement.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) plays an important role in safeguarding children’s welfare in family court proceedings. Inspections of Cafcass have been highly critical that direct contact with children and families is not consistant enough, particularly in private law work. Some cases of chil protection were of such concern that Ofsted asked Cafcass to take immediate action to satisfy itself that children were safe.
Quality of care at most recent inspection of providers inspected between July 2007 and August 2008 and active at 31 August 2008 (percentage of providers).
Published: 1 December 2008.