Children’s homes may be directly managed by the Local Authority, or by an independent, for profit company, or a voluntary organisation. The majority of children in the care of West Sussex are placed with independent companies. The arrangements for the registration and inspection of homes are the same, no matter which type of organisation manages the home.
In order to be registered, the home must complete a number of policy documents for Ofsted,including, how they will keep children safe; how they will manage behaviour within the home; whether the home is in a suitable location; and how they will look after the health of the children. If the home can satisfy Ofsted that they have arrangements in place to meet all the requirements, then they will be registered.
The home are inspected at least once a year, and can receive four possible ratings; Outstanding; good; requires improvement to be good; or inadequate. The first three indicate that a home has met, or exceeded, or the required standards. ‘Inadequate’ means that a home has failed to meet some, or all, of the standards required.
Homes which are ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ will normally be inspected once a year. Other homes will also have an interim inspection, in addition to their annual inspection. An interim inspection can find that the home gas; ‘improved effectiveness’’; ‘sustained effectiveness’; or ‘declined effectiveness’.
West Sussex is committed to seeking the best possible outcomes for the children placed in children’s homes, and therefore seeks to place the great majority of children in homes which are ‘outstanding’, or ‘good’. This target reflect a challenging level, in excess of the national average, but one to which we are very committed. If homes are below the required standard, we will actively support them to improve their practice in order that they receive a higher rating at the next inspection. The target relates only to the annual inspection, not the interim inspections where these occur.