Update: SPI and RS Policy Committees - December 2017

Standards, Performance & Inspection and Resources & Sustainability Policy Committees

The Resources & Sustainability and the Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committees came together on Thursday 21 September in London. A rep from Ofsted joined the meeting to discuss the impact of regulation on placements in children’s homes after ADCS raised concerns with the inspectorate about this issue. Demand for placements is high and members noted a growing number of providers are turning down placement requests for high-risk children for fear of their actions impacting on inspection results. Colleagues raised concerns about the speed of notice given on some placements, particularly for children with high needs, and how this must feel for them. It was noted that Ofsted does not examine discharge processes in the same way as admissions and the group felt greater focus in this area could help.

During wide ranging discussions the group also touched on the growing number of private homes opening in areas with low cost housing rather than where the demand / need for greater capacity is required was touched upon as well as the planning issue in two tier authorities – applications are submitted to the district rather than the county council. Might there be an opportunity to close this loophole via Ofsted’s registration process? NHS Digital’s Chief Social Worker then joined the group to discuss the use of technology and data. Much of NHS Digital’s work is focussed on adults however there are several workstreams relating to children, young people and families.

The Department of Health (DoH) is investing £4.2 billion in digitalising the NHS, this may present an issue for children’s services as the social work profession is split and the oversight for children’s social work sits with the DfE not the DoH. The group reflected on the natural relationship between the health service and adult social care noting it is more difficult in children’s services as schools are critical to our work, as are the police. The group wondered if NHS Digital and/or the DoH needed to draw the DfE closer to this agenda to ensure children and young people benefit from this significant investment.

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