On Wednesday 22 February 2017, Ofsted launched the social care common inspection framework (SCCIF) which will be implemented in April 2017. Ofsted have worked with key stakeholders (including foster carers) across England to develop the new inspection framework which focuses on three core principles across all inspections in children’s social care namely:
- to focus on the things that matter most to children’s lives
- to be consistent in Ofsted’s expectations of providers
- to prioritise Ofsted’s work where improvement is needed most.
Ofsted believe that the new framework ‘has a sharp and consistent focus on the experiences and progress of children, wherever they live or receive help. It is consistent across the different types of provision in terms of what we expect from providers and how we will inspect. However, is not a one-size-fits-all approach to inspection; the SCCIF is tailored to reflect and address each type of children’s social care provider.’
The social care common inspection framework reinforces Ofsted’s ambition to ensure that children are at the centre of the inspection process; this will be realised by understanding the child’s perspective of being cared for and that fostering (all care providers) demonstrates continuous improvement that is, carers and services are ambitious and consistent in delivering quality care provision to children and young people.
Helen Keaney, practice support team manager at The Fostering Network, said: ‘These changes bring the inspection process in line with the government’s Putting Children First strategy, and we welcome this. The Fostering Network and our members have been instrumental in shaping the new framework and we are pleased that there is a shift in emphasis and methodology to be child focussed. Inspectors will now be making judgements based on the overall experiences and progress of children and young people, and looking at how well those children and young people are helped and protected.
‘Independent fostering providers will need to be aware that the notification of the inspection process is shortening considerably from 10 days to two days.
‘We look forward to working with our members to support them in achieving the best possible outcomes for fostered children.’