Introducing national standards for unregulated provision

Closed 19 Jul 2021

Opened 24 May 2021

Feedback updated 20 Dec 2021

We asked

We asked for views on a proposed suite of national standards for providers of semi-independent provision for looked after children and care leavers aged 16 & 17 and how these settings should in future be regulated by Ofsted.

You said

Many respondents agreed that the proposed national standards covered the right areas. The main themes identified for further consideration covered: providing more detail on training and qualifications that will be required; introducing requirements around pre-placement visits and interviews; and, further strengthening the standards on accommodation and support. Respondents also gave views on the advantages and disadvantages of a provider level and individual-setting level Ofsted registration and inspection regime.   

We did

We will introduce mandatory national standards and provider level Ofsted registration and inspection of these placements. We will publish a copy of the national standards in early 2022, which will provide further detail and take into account the feedback received through the consultation. Ofsted will begin registering providers from April 2023, with the national standards becoming mandatory in Autumn 2023. Ofsted will begin inspections from April 2024. 


We're seeking views on proposed standards for unregulated provision for looked after children and care leavers aged 16 & 17.

Why your views matter

The number of children in care placed in unregulated settings has increased from 2,900 in 2009 to 6,490 in 2020. We want to ensure these placements are good quality. 

This consultation invites views on:

  • The key indicators of whether a provider is delivering ‘care’ or ‘support’
  • How best to define this provision in future and whether ‘supported accommodation for older children’ is the best descriptor. 
  • What the best provision in this sector looks like and therefore what needs to be accounted for in new national standards. 
  • A proposed suite of national standards
  • How settings should be regulated by Ofsted.


  • Local authorities
  • Parents
  • Foster carers
  • Community representatives
  • Social workers
  • Unions and representative organisations
  • Government bodies and departments
  • Social workers
  • Team managers
  • Service managers
  • Principle social workers
  • Directors of children's services


  • Accommodation (Looked after children)
  • Preventing neglect, abuse and exploitation