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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

Regulation 44 visits are carried out under Regulation 44 of the Children’s Homes Regulations 2015.

Children's Homes Regulations and Quality Standards 2015

AMENDMENT

In January 2020, this chapter was re-written and should be re-read.


Contents

  1. Departmental Policy
  2. Preparation for the Visit
  3. Assessing the Quality of Care within the Home
  4. What to Expect During a Regulation 44 Visit
  5. Talking to Children and Young People in the Home
  6. Gaining the Views of Parents / Carers and Professionals
  7. Conduct During the Visit
  8. Action to be Taken After the Visit

    Appendix 1: Visit Report


1. Departmental Policy

Living in a children’s home should be a positive experience for children and young people. The authority will arrange for all of its homes to receive monthly (Regulation 44) visits from an Independent Visitor. The purpose of these visits is for the visitor  to satisfy themselves that the care, supervision and support offered in the home is of a high standard.

These visits are an on-going process that identifies where the home is at any given point in time and provides a potential basis in moving forwards. The visits do not have to be announced. We would encourage making some announced arrangements in order to ensure the manager, children and/or any other person is available to meet with and speak to the visitor.

Regulation 44 visits will be in addition to any normal managerial supervisory contact. The visitor  is expected  to observe the care provided, the practice of the staff, inspect compliance with regulations, systems and processes and the quality of the environment. The visitor will wish to be satisfied that the home has an effective approach to behaviour management. The Independent visitor should also make a clear statement within the report regarding how children and young people are safeguarded within the home and that conduct within the home promotes children’s well-being.


2. Preparation for the Visit

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

  • Read and be familiar with the Home's Statement of Purpose;
  • Be familiar with the Children’s Homes Regulations and the Quality Standards April 2015;
  • Children Act 1989;
  • Plan which aspects are priorities to be covered on the visit;
  • Plan date and  time to visit and whether the visit will be pre-arranged or unannounced;
  • If the independent visitor is to have an opportunity to see young people and to speak to them, this may be best achieved by visiting  in the late afternoon/evening or at weekends.


3. Assessing the Quality of Care within the Home

The visitor should speak to (with their consent and in private if appropriate):

  • Children / young people in the home;
  • Carers, support staff and managers working in the home;
  • Make arrangements to telephone / speak to parents/carers;
  • Professionals working with children / young people will be looking for evidence of;
  • The Independent visitor should make observations about the physical environment both inside and outside of the home;
  • The Independent visitor should make observations about the atmosphere within the home;
  • The visitor should inspect records and documentation relating to the home;
  • The Guide to the Children’s Homes Regulations and the Quality Standards April 2015 sets out the key principles of residential care and the quality standards that have to be met;
  • Quality and purpose of care (Regulation 6);
  • Children’s views, wishes and feelings (Regulation 7);
  • Education (Regulation 8);
  • Health and well-being (Regulation 10);
  • Positive relationships (Regulation 12);
  • Leadership and Management (Regulation 13);
  • Care Planning (Regulation 14).


4. What to Expect During a Regulation 44 Visit

The independent visitor  will be looking for evidence of:

  • Children in the home being effectively  safeguarded;
  • Hearing the child’s voice and responses to views, wishes and feelings;
  • Children’s advocacy and ability to complain about the care they receive;
  • Promotion of diversity, positive identity and individualised care;
  • Promoting independence;
  • Maintaining relationships and contact with family and friends where possible;
  • Promoting positive behaviours;
  • Positive insertions within the home;
  • Promoting good health and well being;
  • Promoting  education and celebrating achievements;
  • That the conduct of the home promotes the well-being of children living there;
  • Leadership and management is robust and effective.

The following records should be accessible to the visitor  (these are not exhaustive):

  • The Sanctions Book;
  • The Physical Interventions Book;
  • The Disengagement Book;
  • The daily log book;
  • Any allegations or suspicions of abuse in respect of children;
  • OFSTED notifications;
  • Records of accidents and injuries sustained in the home, or by children and young people living there;
  • Records of any unauthorised absence, and subsequent actions taken under the Missing from Home, Care and Education NSCB guidance;
  • Arrangements for children’s education provision;
  • Record of any illnesses of children and young people in the home;
  • Complaints and compliment records;
  • Staff learning and development;
  • Recruitment of staff / vacancies and sickness;
  • Team rota;
  • Team / young people’s meeting records;
  • Fire records;
  • Sampling of Care Plans / key work sessions.


5. Talking to Children and Young People in the Home

When talking to children and young people living in the home, visitors should talk to them about:

  • What they enjoy about living in the home;
  • How they contribute to the home i.e menu planning, activity choice etc;
  • How their individual needs are met;
  • Their education;
  • Relationships / contact with family and friends (if appropriate);
  • How they feel about living in the home;
  • Whether they feel respected, listened to, secure, etc;
  • If they have any worries about living in the home.


6. Gaining the Views of Parents, Carers and Professionals

It is a requirement that visitors contact parents, carers, social workers, independent reviewing officers, team managers of the children and young people living in or staying at the home for short breaks, to obtain their views and feedback about the care their child is receiving. These views must be included in the report. Visitors need to be aware of data protection issues when requesting contact details of people outside of the home. If it has not been possible to contact anyone during the visit this must be recorded with follow-up actions recorded on the next visit.


7. Conduct During the Visit

Independent visitors 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 introductions / explanations given before looking around;
  • Individual children may choose not to speak to the independent visitor. This should be recorded within the report.

Independent visitors 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 visitor'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 and young people, Independent visitors  should be aware of the possible risks to the child/young person and themselves: private conversations should take place with privacy but in view of others.


8. Action to be Taken After the Visit

8.1

At the end of the visit the Independent visitor should give verbal feedback to the Homes Manager, Duty Manager, or Shift Leader. If there are any immediate safeguarding concerns, the independent visitor must ensure that action is taken to respond to these concerns. If the concerns relate to the management of the home, the Independent visitor 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 undertaken.

Findings from the Regulation 44 visits are recorded on a template provided by the local authority. The record of the visit should be factual, evidence based with a degree of analysis. The report should also include the opinion and observations of the visitor concerning the culture of the home.

Details of staff and children / young people should be recorded using initials only.

Once the Independent visitor completes the report it should be sent to the Registered Manager by password protected email within 5 working days. The Registered Manager must respond to any recommendations/ actions required and return it to the Independent visitor by password protected email within 2-3 working days. The Independent visitor emails a password protected copy of the report (including actions and responses) in Word format directly to enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk – the report should include the individual home reference.

8.2

A copy should be retained by the Independent visitor.

A copy of the report should be shared with and be accessible to staff within the home.

The content of these reports will be used by the Registered Managers in their review under Regulation 45 and by OFSTED as part of inspection process.

Regulation 44 reports will be reviewed by senior managers as part of the governance, quality assurance and development of the service.


Appendix 1: Visit Report

Click here to view Appendix 1: Visit Report.

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