Introducing national standards for unregulated accommodation

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Closes 19 Jul 2021


What are we doing?

The Government wants to make sure that independent and semi-independent accommodation for older children in care and care leavers aged 16 or 17 is high quality – this means it is safe and provides enough support for the young people living there. 

This type of accommodation is meant to offer young people aged 16 and 17 somewhere to live that gives them the chance to develop their independence as they prepare for leaving care and starting adult life. 

You might have heard this type of accommodation called many different things, for example, supported accommodation, supported living or 16+ accommodation. This accommodation is often called ‘unregulated’ because it is not inspected by Ofsted like children’s homes. 

The Government is concerned that this type of accommodation is not always good enough and last year we asked for views on how to improve on this type of accommodation. 

After listening to people’s views, in February the Government announced it will:  

  • Stop children under the age of 16 living in this type of accommodation. We think children under 16 should live in a children’s homes or foster care as they are too young to live somewhere that focuses on preparing young people for independence.
  • Introduce rules called ‘national standards’ for this type of accommodation – these standards will make sure that all places where children and young people live are high quality, safe, and support them properly. 
  • Make sure that Ofsted – the organisation that checks that places where children live are good enough – can check that this type of accommodation is following the standards. 

The Government is asking children and young people with experience of care what the new standards should look like and how Ofsted should make sure that people follow the standards to make sure that independent and semi-independent accommodation does everything we need it to for children and young people.

What are we asking you to do?

The Government wants to know what you think new standards for this accommodation should look like, based on your experience of being in care and living in different types of accommodation.  This will help us decide what we need to do next. 

We would like to know your views on: 

  • How do we tell the difference between children’s homes and independent and semi-independent accommodation?  
  • What should we call this type of accommodation in future? 
  • If we want to introduce new standards – for this accommodation, what should they cover? 
  • How should Ofsted make sure the accommodation is following the new standards? 

We will use your views to help us:

  • Develop new standards for this type of accommodation to make sure it is safe and young people living there are supported in high quality accommodation.
  • Decide how Ofsted will make sure the accommodation is following the new standards.  

We are giving people 8 weeks to answer these questions.

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