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Unexpected Wider Important Insights In Ofsted Short Break Children’s Homes Analysis

Unexpected wider important insights in Ofsted short break children’s homes analysis

There are unexpected, wider, and important findings and insights for the DfE, Care Review, LGA, LAs, ADCS and providers. 
Extracts with NCERCC identified insights below.


1.The regional breakdown of short-break-only homes is largely similar to that of children’s homes. There is an uneven regional distribution of homes in both groups.


NCERCC: This is an important finding as this is a statutory provision. LAs and ADCS have adhered to a perspective that the unevenness in other types of children’s homes is the result of ‘business’ decisions by private providers. This is made open to question given that the largest provider type of Short Breaks are LAs and the lowest are privately funded. Research to provide a solid evidence base as to the reasons for private providers opening a home and their location is identified by this insight.


2.Data currently collected on disabled children does not give us a clear idea of the degree to which it is proportionate to the numbers of children who need this form of support and care.


NCERCC: There is no dataset that shows the incidence of needs. The datasets show overall total ‘need’ and provision but do not identify individual ‘needs’ in the granular detail for planning purposes. This makes all investment by all ownership types speculative. 


3. There is no dataset, however, that can adequately describe the level and distribution of what the prospective need is for short-break services. It is therefore difficult to establish the degree to which these homes provide services, in the right areas and at the right times, to meet the needs of the children and families. As stated earlier, this paper only covers a part of the story of services that support disabled children and their families. The story of the whole, and the degree to which demand is well met, still needs to be told.


NCERCC: As Holmes for DfE observed there is a need for better datasets. This is important as the Care Review lead has written to the Spending Review lead stating money should be made available to LAs and vol orgs to open homes. The current dataset does not allow the focus for such new homes, though knowledge of the sector shows the need for specialist homes with specialist skills. The concern is that opening homes provided ‘heads on beds’ and is seen to be a response to calls whereas it is not the ‘right heads on the right beds’. This requires advice from the few with sector specific knowledge and experience.


4.It is striking that private sector ownership in this area is so low, particularly compared with its predominant presence in the overall area of children’s homes. LAs have a larger presence in this group of homes because they are required to provide these services and they know that they can run them well; many of these homes have been registered for a long time. The services these homes provide are highly specialised, require a range of equipment and need staff with the right skills and experience to support the children well. The expense of this is high.


NCERCC: The commentary is contradictory. LAs are required to run such homes but there is variation in their doing so.
This finding is significant in 2 ways
i) it identifies children’s homes as specialised in a manner uncommonly applied to other types of children’s homes
ii) it identifies this level of intensity is expensive. This uncommonly linked for other types of children’s homes with the focus applied to the latter and absenting the former.


5. Short-break-only homes had a better overall effectiveness profile than children’s homes. The proportion of short-break-only homes that received a good or outstanding inspection judgement (88%) was 8 percentage points higher than among children’s homes (80%). Most of this difference was due to the substantially higher proportion of outstanding short-break-only homes (27%, 44 homes). Only 15% of children’s homes (316 homes) were judged to be outstanding.


NCERCC: The comparison is not sound. The comparison with other types of homes is potentially misleading. It is not comparing like with like.


6. RM in post 4 years in short breaks and 2 years in other homes.


NCERCC: This finding identifies the need for more research by those with sector specific knowledge and experience. For example there are 3 immediate questions:  What are the factors? What is the depth of knowledge and experience? To what degree did rise to be RM having been a RCCW in the same home? Further questions arise such as the degree the L5 is aligned to include such RMs, the availability of learning opportunities for this workforce, the availability of consultancy.