View NSCB Procedures View NSCB Procedures

13.3 Monthly Inspection Visits

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter details the Local Authority's responsibility to ensure that Children's Homes receive an unannounced visit at least once a month to ensure a number of checks are carried out. It details who is seen and what is monitored alongside the reporting and response process of the visit.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

Children's Homes Regulations and Quality Standards 2015

AMENDMENT

In July 2015, this chapter was updated with regards to the Children's Homes Regulations and Quality Standards.


Contents

  1. Departmental Policy
  2. Preparation for the Visit
  3. Methods of Assessing the Conduct of the Home
  4. Aspects to be Examined during Inspection visits
  5. Conduct During the Visit
  6. Action to be taken After the Visit


1. Departmental Policy

1.1

It is the policy of the Social Care Service that each Community Home maintained by the Department will receive an unannounced visit at least once a month.

This visit will be in addition to any normal managerial supervisory contact. The intention of this visit is not to provide a lengthy or in-depth inspection, but to ensure that a number of checks are carried out regularly.
1.2

The authority will arrange for all of its homes to receive monthly visits from an Independent Person. These visits are an on-going process that identifies where you are at any given point in time and provides a potential basis in moving forwards. This is only a small element of this process. The visits should usually be unannounced but can be announced if it is necessary to arrange to meet a particular person.

The independent person cannot be a person employed by the Local Authority in connection with the carrying on of social services functions relating to children. For more information on who can be appointed as an independent person, see Children’s Homes Regulations Amendments 2014: Advice for Children’s Homes Providers on New Duties under Amendments to Regulations that came into Effect in January and April 2014.

The visit will be for a minimum of one hour. The person should complete a written report of the visit. This may include recommendations for improvement with timescales.

The report should be shared with the Registered Manager, with the opportunity to make comment e.g. if there is disagreement with the comments and recommendations.

The report should be lodged with the home for the manager and staff to read and respond to.

A copy of this report is sent to the Regulatory Authority in the following month after the visit.

The independent person, when carrying out a visit, shall:

  • Interview, with their consent and in private, such of the children accommodated there, their parents, relatives and persons working at the children’s home as appears necessary in order to form an opinion as to whether:
    • Children accommodated at the children’s home are effectively safeguarded; and
    • The conduct of the children’s home promotes the wellbeing of the children accommodated there.
  • Inspect the premises of the children’s home, and such of the children’s home’s records, as the independent person requires (children’s case records may only be inspected with the consent of the child and the child’s placing authority).

This may include the following:

  1. Meet and talk to children and staff of the home to ascertain their views, comments and any complaints about the running of the home;
  2. Read the Daily Log, records of Restraints, Incidents, reports of Notifiable events;
  3. Checks of any disciplinary measures and use of restraint in the home;
  4. Read the records of Comments, Representations and Complaints and (Child Protection Referrals), commenting on the frequency and type made and whether they appear to have been dealt with adequately;
  5. Read and comment on the record of Children's and Staff Meetings, or other methods used by the manager to consult the children and staff, held in the home. The person should also check that staff supervision have taken place as required;
  6. Check on the physical condition and decoration of the home, including the children's bedrooms.
1.3 The Children's Service Manager with responsibility for the home will be responsible for ensuring the monitoring of completed reports.
1.4 It is as important for the person carrying out the inspection to record positive comments as it is to record negative ones. The aim of the visits should be to recognise and reinforce good practice as well as highlighting and correcting deficiencies.


2. Preparation for the Visit

In preparing for the visit, the independent inspector will need to:

  • Be familiar with the Home's Statement of Purpose;
  • Plan which aspects are to be covered on the visit;
  • Plan what time to visit;
  • If the independent inspector is to have an opportunity to see young people and to speak to them, this is best done in the late afternoon/evening or at weekends.


3. Methods of Assessing the Conduct of the Home

The independent inspector will be:

  • Talking to children
  • Talking to staff
  • Making observations
  • Inspecting records and documentation
  • Inspecting the fabric of the Home


4. Aspects to be Examined during Inspection visits

4.1

The following records should be up-to-date and easily accessible:

  1. PPP - Children's Services;

    (Please ensure the statement of Primary Responsibility is signed by all staff);
  2. Safeguarding Children Procedures;
  3. Sanctions Record;
  4. Physical intervention records;
  5. Statement of Purpose;
  6. Register;
  7. Fire Record.
4.2

The following records to be inspected:

  1. The record of sanctions;
  2. Sampling of individual Care Plans;
  3. The daily log book;
  4. The date of the last fire drill;
  5. The date of the last fire test;
  6. Any compliments or complaints received by the home.
4.3
  1. The number of children reported missing over the previous two weeks;
  2. Children of school age not attending full-time school or permanently excluded;
  3. Current staff vacancies and sickness.
4.4

The recording of any comments which any of the following groups make:

  1. Any child/young person in the Home;
  2. Family members;
  3. Members of staff.
4.5 The physical condition of the premises.
4.6 Any obvious Health and Safety matters which are observed or drawn to the independent inspector's attention.
4.7 Any instances of serious violence or injury to a young person or staff member, or any allegations of abuse made against staff or young person.
4.8 The Independent inspector will check Framework with the Homes Manager during the visit to ensure information on current residents is accurate.


5. Conduct During the Visit

Independent inspectors should respect the fact that it is the children's/young people's home:

  • They are entitled to privacy, and permission should be sought and explanations given before looking around;
  • Individual children may choose not to speak to visiting Manager; this should be recorded on the report.

Independent inspectors should take advice from staff about contact with individual children and about other aspects of their visit; this will include advice and support to ascertain the views of children and young people where verbal communication is not the child/young person's method of communication

  • There is an important balance to be found between the rights of the children/young people to privacy and respect, and the Independent inspector's responsibilities to ensure the children's/young people's safety and the highest possible standard of care for them;
  • When talking to individual children, Independent inspectors should be aware of the possible risks to the child/young person and themselves: private conversations should take place in privacy but in view of others.

The independent person will interview (with consent and in private) children, parents, relatives and those working in the home to form an opinion as to whether;

  • Children are effectively safeguarded; and
  • The conduct of the home promotes the wellbeing of children.
The inspector shall also inspect the premises and any records they require. Where these include children’s case records, the child and their responsible authority should confirm their consent.


6. Action to be taken After the Visit

6.1

The Independent inspector completes the pro-forma, and forwards it to the Children's Service Manager responsible for the home, their administration team and the Homes Manager. The report has to be completed by the end of the month inspected. This timeframe is required by Ofsted.

At the end of the visit the Independent inspector should give verbal feedback to the Homes Manager, Duty Manager, or Shift Leader. If there are any immediate safeguarding concerns, the independent inspector must ensure that action is taken to respond to these concerns. If the concerns relate to the management of the home, the Independent inspector must contact the Service Manager for the home, or her/his covering Manager. The Service Manager with responsibility for the home will ensure any follow up action is carried out.

The independent persons report of the visit should be sent to:

  • HMCI (Ofsted);
  • The child’s social worker and to their team manager;
  • The Registered Manager of the home;
  • The Children’s Service Manager;
  • The Local Authority where the home is located (if not under the management of Children’s Social Care for Nottinghamshire).
6.2 A copy should be retained by the Independent inspector.

End