Residential Childcare Peer Review Service

Children’s Home Services

The National Minimum Standards for Children’s Homes are issued by the Secretary of State under section 23 of the Care Standards Act 2000. Minimum standards do not mean standardisation of provision. The standards are designed to be applicable to the wide variety of different types of children’s homes. They aim to enable, rather than prevent, individual providers to develop their own particular ethos and approach based on evidence that this is the most appropriate way to meet the child’s needs.

Children’s Homes Regulations 2001 (England)

The regulations  contain some changes that emanate from legislative and Government policy changes that have occurred since 2001.

Behaviour Management, discipline and restraint: Regulation 17 (and relevant Standards) state that staff may now only use techniques that are approved by the home; they may not use techniques they have learnt in other agencies/companies.

In line with recent government policies, Restraint may not be used to force compliance or as a punishment where Significant Harm or serious damage to property are not otherwise likely. Where Physical Intervention has been used, the child, staff and others involved are now able to call on medical assistance and children must always be given the opportunity to see a Registered Nurse or Medical Practitioner, even if there are no apparent injuries.

Regulation 17 has been amended in relation to the records that must be kept on measures of control, discipline and restraint; this list of matters that must be recorded has been amended e.g. a description of any injury to the child concerned or any other person and any medical treatment administered.

Regulation 17 has also been expanded in relation to restraint techniques e.g. there is a clear requirement that on no account may ‘neck holds’ be used.

Children’s case records: Regulation 28 has been amended (as have the Standards) to delete the requirement that certain records should be kept in hard copy; records can now be kept in electronic format.

Staff Support and Supervision: The previous timescales have been removed, with a less prescriptive requirement that staff should receive regular supervision; however, there is a now clear requirement that staff receive annual appraisals and that children’s views should be taken into account when undertaking appraisals.

The National Minimum Standards (NMS)

Some of the new Standards retain clauses from the old version but they have been substantially reorganised and rewritten to reflect legislative and Government policy changes that have occurred since 2001.

For example:

Standard 1: The child’s wishes and feelings… e.g.  there is a requirement for home’s managers to consult the child’s Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) on a regular basis.

Standard 3: Promoting positive behaviour… which replaces the previous Standard 22 (Behaviour Management) has been written to reflect the amended Regulation 17, especially in relation to the criteria and use of restraint; and the former requirement for recording in bound books has been amended, Homes can now keep electronic records.

Standard 4: Safeguarding Children has primarily been written to reflect recent Government legislation and guidance e.g. ‘Working Together 2010’; however, there are significant changes in relation to procedures that are required in relation to absconding or unauthorised absences.  Schedule 5 of the Regulations has also been amended on this matter i.e. in relation to notifications. There is now a clear requirement that homes appoint a Designated Child Protection Manager to co-ordinate Child Protection matters within the home.

Standard 6: promoting Good health and wellbeing included substantially amended clauses in relation to the use of therapies.

Standard 11: Preparation for a placement includes new clauses in relation to the moving of children e.g. that a review should be held before a child is moved to another placement and, as stated above, that the IRO should be notified and consulted before a child moves from one home to another.

Standard 16: Suitability to work with children has primarily been drafted to reflect legislation and Government policies e.g. in regard to vetting and barring; there is now a clause that permits telephone references to be obtained, as well as written references. There is an interesting new clause 16.6 that seems to permit staff to start work at the home before CRB and other checks are made; home’s managers will need to take legal advice on this before implementation.

Standard 20: Handling allegations… has been written to reflect legislation and Government policies e.g. ‘Working Together 2010’ and the requirement to notify Local Authority Designated Officers (LADOs) when an allegation is made.

There is an explicit requirement for each home to have a Designated Person responsible for managing allegations, the recording of allegations and outcomes of investigations and for the retention of these records.

Mock Inspection/pre inspection audits and  Peer Reviews

Griffin Care will undertake, in partnership with your organisation, a comprehensive on site audit which will give you a full understanding of how you are functioning as an agency in relation to the Care Planning Placement and Review England (2010) Regulations, Children’s Homes Regulations and National Minimum Standards. All mentors assigned to your organisation will have a wealth of experience in regulations appertaining to Children’s Homes and will tailor the review to your particular needs and requirements ranging from a deep dive audit to focusing upon those additional elements which will move your Children’s Home towards outstanding practice.

Depending upon your requirements our peer mentors will:

•           Undertake a comprehensive stakeholder analysis

•           Consult and feedback from children and families

•           Undertake staff feedback sessions and workshops

•           Scrutinise policies against regulatory requirements including:

o          Child protection

o          Missing from care

o          Care planning and placement plans

o          Recording

o          Supervision of staff

o          Investigating allegations, complaints and serious concerns

o          Recruitment and retention

•           Conduct file audits

•           Undertake case tracking of child’s files

•           Examine Quality Assurance processes and management oversight

•           Provide feedback as to the effectiveness of young people’s participation strategies

•           Investigate data in relation to the outcomes for children in placement

Following the review you will be given a comprehensive improvement plan tailored to the needs of your individual organisation which can then be shared with Ofsted, as required, to evidence continuous service improvement and development. You will be offered the opportunity of working with your peer mentor to ensure that the improvement plan is robustly implemented and the identified outcomes are evidenced.

For further information or to discuss any specific requirements please contact our enquiry team: enquiries@griffincare.co.uk

 

 

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