Ofsted to provide oversight of supported accommodation for children in care in England

Ofsted is now registering supported accommodation for children in care and care leavers aged 16 to 17. The regulator’s new powers came into force on 6 April 2023.

Supported accommodation is sometimes referred to as independent or semi-independent provision or unregulated provision as until last month, this type of provision had no independent oversight of this diverse and growing sector.

The new regulations, The Supported Accommodation (England) Regulations 2023 include the quality standards that all supported accommodation providers must meet as well as detail on the Ofsted-led registration and inspection regime.

Under the new regulations, providers will need to submit applications to register with Ofsted by 28 October 2023 and after this date it will be an offence to provider supported accommodation without having a registration application accepted as complete.

Ofsted has published guidance to support providers with their applications, setting out the criteria and evidence required for registration. Ofsted has also published an introductory guide to supported accommodation explaining what providers need to know about registering with Ofsted and running or closing a supported accommodation service. You can read this here.

In its press release, Ofsted confirm that they will consult on proposals for the new inspection methodology in summer 2023 and will run pilot inspections in the autumn, with inspections of supported accommodation starting in April 2024.

The new approach to regulating supported accommodation for young people followed a consultation by the Department for Education in December 2022 on the quality standards, the new administrative requirements on providers and how Ofsted’s registration, inspection and enforcement will work in practice to ensure provider accountability.

Getting registration ready by 28 October 2023

If you need support with registration or understanding the categories of supported accommodation requiring registration and what this means for your business – do get in touch, we have a team of regulatory experts familiar with the care sector.

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