Children's homes workforce: a call for evidence

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Closes 27 Aug 2019

Introduction

The Department for Education is launching this Call for Evidence in response to a recommendation made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), in its Interim Report published in April 2018, that the Government should introduce professional registration requirements for those working in care roles in children’s homes. Specifically, the recommendations were that:

  • The Department for Education introduces arrangements for the registration of staff working in care roles in children’s homes;
  • Registration should be with an independent body charged with setting and maintaining standards of training, conduct, and continuing professional development, and with the power to enforce these through fitness to practise procedures; and
  • Recognising that registration may require a period of phasing in, priority should be given to professional registration of children’s home managers.

In response, we committed to explore the merits of further workforce regulation and the potential impact of taking the recommendation forward, through an evidence gathering exercise – in the form of a literature review and this Call for Evidence, through which we are seeking input from the sector.

In addition to developing an understanding of the potential impact of taking forward the recommendation, we have expanded the scope to seek the sector’s views on a broader range of workforce issues. These questions have been developed in partnership with research associates and the sector, to ensure questions are focussed on the most critical children’s homes workforce issues.

Children’s homes provide care and accommodation for some of our most vulnerable children in society, and it is vital that we ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to protect them from harm. 

Children’s homes must have a manager in place, who is registered with Ofsted and has had their fitness to practice assessed.  All staff must have enhanced DBS checks before they can work in a children’s home, and homes must have policies and procedures in place to protect children, which includes appropriate recruitment practice.  Ofsted assesses this on inspection and can take enforcement action where necessary, including removing homes and managers from the register.  More information on the existing requirements can be found in the guide to the Children’ Homes Regulations.

While there are comprehensive measures in place to protect children, the Department is clear that we will not be complacent and we welcome views from the sector on the robustness of the existing regime to protect children in children’s homes, particularly where this concerns the workforce.  This Call for Evidence will support us to do this.

We look forward to your input on these important issues.