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Children: Care Homes

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what percentage of children's homes did not meet the national standards for care homes on the latest date for which figures are available. (247857)

This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply has been placed in the Library.

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 27 January 2009:

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION NUMBER 247857: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, how many and what percentage of children's homes did not meet the national standards for care homes on the latest date for which figures are available.

Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for a response.

There are 36 national minimum standards for children's homes, each with a number of underpinning criteria. Most, but not all, of these standards are legal requirements set in regulations. A detailed list of the standards, detailing those which are legal requirements, can be found in the Department of Health's 2002 document Children's Homes: National Minimum Standards, available at

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH4010076.

Where providers do not meet the national minimum standards that are legal requirements, we set 'actions', to which providers must respond. Ofsted uses its enforcement powers to bring about compliance in these cases.

Table A shows the number of children's homes that failed to meet at least one of the national minimum standards linked to a legal requirement set in regulations during the inspection year 2007-08 (the last full year for which we have data). Inspectors judged that the majority of the failures to meet the standards did not have a significant impact on outcomes for children. As a result, overall we judged only 8% of children's homes as inadequate during that same period.

Table A: Actions set against national minimum standards (NMS) from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008

Number

Percentage

Total active children's homes with an action/s against one or more NMS from their most recent full inspection in the 2007-08 cycle.

1239

70

Total active children's homes without an action against any NMS from their most recent full inspection in the 2007-08 cycle.

531

30

Total active children's homes with a completed full inspection in 07-08 cycle.

1770

100

Where providers do not meet national minimum standards that are not legal requirements, Ofsted makes 'recommendations'. We can also set recommendations to bring about improvement over and above the national minimum standards. We do not distinguish in our records between those recommendations we set in relation to improvement and those we set for failing to meet an aspect of the national minimum standards. We can not, therefore, supply data about children's homes which did not meet those national minimum standards that are not linked to legal requirements.

A copy of this reply has been sent to Rt Hon Beverley Hughes MP, Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families, and will be placed in the library of both Houses.