September 2018 performance
The current position continues to exceed the long-term target, and is slightly improved from the previous quarter.  Due to the relatively small numbers involved, the percentages can swing significantly if homes lose their ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating.  This has not occurred this quarter, and the variation is due to a small number of changes.  West Sussex continues to have children placed at homes which have a rating of less than ‘good’, and each of these are rated as ‘requires improvement to be good’, which means that, in the eyes of Ofsted, they are still meeting all the standards, just not at a sufficient level to be rated as ‘’good’.  18.6 % of children are placed in home rated as ‘outstanding’, and 75.3% of children are placed in homes rated as ‘good’.
March 2018 Performance
The recent months have seen a number of homes re-inspected, and receiving improved ratings.  There are now only three homes where West Sussex have children placed which have ratings which are below ‘Good’.
The overall target has now been reached, but this is likely to be a variable position over the coming months, as homes are re-inspected by Ofsted.  So although it is very positive to see the target reached, we should exercise some caution in that some homes will receive degraded rating in the future, and, particularly if these homes have a significant number of children placed by West Sussex, the figure could fall significantly.  We continue to work alongside providers, particularly those who do not yet have a rating of ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, to make further improvements to their overall performance.

Background

In order to operate, every children’s home must first be registered with Ofsted, who will then carry out regular inspections of the home to ensure they are continuing to meet the National Care Standards – the Standards against which they are evaluated.

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.