Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements

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Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements

  1. 1. Benchmarking guidance on makingsocial care inspection judgementsAge group: AllPublished: November 2008Reference no: 080042
  2. 2. This document may be reproduced in whole orin part for non-commercial educational purposes,provided that the information quoted is reproducedwithout adaptation and the source and date ofpublication are stated.Alexandra House33 KingswayLondon WC2B 6SET 0300 123 1231www.ofsted.gov.ukReference no. 080042© Crown Copyright 2008
  3. 3. ContentsIntroduction 4Background 4Other information 5Making an individual judgement 6Making an individual judgement of outstanding 6Making an individual judgement of good 6Making an individual judgement of satisfactory 7Making an individual judgement of inadequate 7Making an overall judgement 8Overall judgement of outstanding 8Overall judgement of good 9Overall judgement of satisfactory 10Overall judgement of inadequate – notice of action to improve 11Overall judgement of inadequate – enforcement action 11
  4. 4. IntroductionThe purpose of the benchmarking guidance is to:  help inspectors make consistent judgements  provide information for children, young people, service providers and other stakeholders about how Ofsted makes inspection judgements for children’s services.It aims to identify clear criteria for deciding on inspection judgements, which in turnsupport and develop improved services that meet the needs of the children andyoung people using them.BackgroundWe took over inspection of children’s social care services from the Commission forSocial Care Inspection (CSCI) on 1 April 2007. This included the inspectionframeworks and guidance used previously by CSCI.We adopted the guidance about how inspectors award judgements, previouslyknown as Key Lines of Regulatory Assessment (KLORA). After using the guidance forsome time, we would like to make some amendments to take account of the views ofinspectors and providers. We recognise that it is sensible to leave more wide-rangingamendments until after the introduction of any revisions to the national minimumstandards in 2009. We will continue to gather views on the effectiveness of thebenchmarks over the coming year.The changes to the guidance previously issued by CSCI include:  replacing the outcome judgements of excellent, good, adequate and poor used in the CSCI guidance with outstanding, good, satisfactory and inadequate to match with the Ofsted terms used in all our inspection reports  introducing two stages for inadequate provision based on a provider’s capacity to improve: those that can improve without further intervention; and those that we judge cannot or will not improve without us taking enforcement action  providing a child-friendly version of our benchmarking guidance once it is in operation  using the benchmarking guidance to decide on a judgement or overall judgement for all inspections, apart from those of adoption support agencies  providing greater clarity between the different grades awarded  from 1 November 2008 we will judge every social care service at full/ key inspections on how it promotes equality and diversity.4 Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements
  5. 5. What remains the same?We will continue to:  use the same individual judgements of:  being healthy  staying safe  enjoying and achieving  making a positive contribution  achieving economic well-being1  organisation  make judgements for the following social care services:  adoption agencies and local authority adoption services  boarding schools  children’s homes and secure children’s homes  further education colleges  fostering agencies and local authority fostering services  local authority private fostering arrangements  residential family centres  residential special schools  secure training centres  the judgement for organisation can be no greater that the judgement for staying safe; this was omitted in April 2008 in error and is being used to decide overall judgements as previously by CSCI.Other information  This guidance refers to children and young people unless it is service- specific guidance related to adoption support agencies and residential family centres. When used to inspect these services the guidance is applied to adults as well as children and young people, unless there is specific guidance in relation to children and young people.  We use this guidance to make decisions about our inspection judgements for all children’s services.  We have developed separate guidance on how to determine an overall judgement for adoption support agencies: this is because the standards for this type of service are not organised under the Every Child Matters outcomes. We are seeking comments from relevant stakeholders about how we make an overall judgement regarding adoption support agencies.1 The first five judgements are for the Every Child Matters outcomes:www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/aims. Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements 5
  6. 6. Making an individual judgementThis relates to the judgements for being healthy, staying safe, enjoying andachieving, positive contribution, achieving economic well-being and organisation. Youshould refer to the guide to key standards at the end of each benchmarkingguidance for making judgements applicable to the service type.Making an individual judgement of outstandingThis applies to an individual aspect that is exceptional.Provision is outstanding where all the following apply.  Outcomes for individual children and young people are excellent and demonstrate individualised care and support that reflect a child or young person’s needs exceptionally well.  There is a comprehensive understanding of, and a varied and holistic approach to, implementing equality and diversity that results in outstanding care being provided to children and young people.  Staff demonstrate how they continually strive for further improvement through evaluative and reflective practice.  There is consistent use of self-evaluation and any improvements identified are managed in a timely and very effective way.  There are no breaches of regulations and all key national minimum standards are met.  There are no more than two recommendations for that outcome.Making an individual judgement of goodThis applies to an individual aspect that is strong.Provision is good where most of the following apply.  Outcomes for individual children and young people are good and demonstrate individualised care and support that reflects a child or young person’s needs well.  There is a well developed understanding and a balanced approach to implementing equality and diversity that results in beneficial care being provided to children and young people.  Practice is reflective and takes into account changes to legislation, good practice guidance and up-to-date research.  Areas of need are identified and improvements are effective.6 Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements
  7. 7.  Any breaches of regulations and/or minor shortfalls in meeting national minimum standards do not directly have an impact or a potential impact on the welfare of children and young people. For example, where complaints procedures are implemented effectively but the provider has not updated the name of the regulatory body in the written procedure. We may raise an action but the omission has no serious impact on outcomes for children.  All the key national minimum standards are met that directly or potentially impact upon children and young people.Making an individual judgement of satisfactoryThis applies to an individual aspect that is sound.Provision is satisfactory where most of the following apply.  Outcomes for individual children and young people are acceptable and demonstrate care that generally meets their individual needs.  There is an adequate approach to implementing equality and diversity that results in only a satisfactory level of care being provided to children and young people. There is scope for improvement.  Some changes to practice are made as a result of changes to legislation and good practice guidance.  The approach to quality assurance has some shortfalls, but is acceptable. Issues are not always identified: where they are identified action to improve is not always completed, but these do not impact upon the care provided.  Any breaches to legislation have a minimal impact or potential impact on outcomes for children and young people. For example, where staff qualifications and experience are not in line with national minimum standards, but there is evidence that the staff’s skills and capabilities meet the needs of the children and young people.  Most of the key national minimum standards are met.Making an individual judgement of inadequateThis applies to an individual aspect that is poor.Provision is inadequate where any one or more of the following apply.  Practice provides poor outcomes for individual children and young people.  The approach to implementing equality and diversity is ineffective and, as a result, a deficient level of care is provided to children and young people.  Changes to legislation are not taken into consideration and there is no demonstration that good practice guidance is put into practice. Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements 7
  8. 8.  Quality assurance is poor and results in a number of areas for improvement.  There is no system to identify deficiencies and/or there is a failure to maintain the necessary improvements to the care provided.  There are significant breaches of regulations or a highly significant deficit in safeguarding children’s welfare is identified.2  One or more of the key national minimum standards are not met and this has a significant impact on outcomes for children and young people.Making an overall judgementThis relates to the overall judgement for an adoption service or agency, a children’shome – including a secure children’s home – a fostering service or agency, aresidential special school, a boarding school and a residential family centre. There isseparate guidance for adoption support agencies and private fostering arrangements.Overall judgement of outstandingThis applies to provision that is exceptional.An outstanding service is one where all the following apply.  All the individual judgements must be good or outstanding.  Being healthy, staying safe and organisation are judged as outstanding and at least one other outcome is judged as outstanding.  There are no breaches of regulation. No actions are raised and there are either no recommendations or no more than three recommendations  The practice is so good that it is worth disseminating beyond the setting and stands out from its peers.The other areas to consider when making a judgement of outstanding are as follows.  Outcomes for individual children and young people are excellent and demonstrate individualised care and support that reflects a child or young person’s needs exceptionally well.  Children and young people are integral to decision making and there is a wealth of evidence to show how children and young people’s views make a difference to the service.  Diversity and equality are promoted very effectively in all aspects of the service.2 A significant number is defined as ’if four actions or more are made about the same nationalminimum standard or about several key national minimum standards this constitutes a significantnumber.’8 Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements
  9. 9.  Very effective quality assurance systems demonstrate how reflective practice and relevant research are taken into account.  Areas for further development are identified and dealt with in a timely fashion.  There is a history of compliance and a focus on exceeding national minimum standards and regulations.  Prompt or immediate action is taken to meet any recommendations.  There is a history of complaints being dealt with very effectively.Overall judgement of goodThis applies to provision that is strong.A good service is one where all the following apply.  Being healthy, staying safe and ‘organisation are all judged as either good or outstanding. At least one other outcome must be judged as good or outstanding, so that four of the six outcomes must be judged as at least good.  No individual judgement is inadequate.  For regulated services there are either no actions or recommendations set, or no more than three actions relating to minor points and no more than five recommendations. 3 For services that are inspected only there can be no more than eight recommendations. 4The other areas to consider when making a judgement of good are as follows.  Outcomes for individual children and young people are good and demonstrate individualised care and support that reflects a child or young person’s needs well.  Children and young people play a strong part in decision making. They are consulted regularly and their views are evident in the way that the service makes decisions about developments.  Diversity and equality are promoted well in all aspects of the service.  There is a robust quality assurance system.3 Regulated services are children’s homes, secure children’s homes, residential family centres,voluntary adoption agencies, private and voluntary fostering agencies, and adoption support agencies.4 Services that are only inspected are boarding schools local authority adoption services, localauthority fostering services, private fostering arrangements, residential special schools and furthereducation colleges. This section has been reworded as it inaccurately grouped these services. Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements 9
  10. 10.  Necessary improvements are identified and action is taken to make improvements within well considered timescales.  There is a history of complaints being dealt with effectively.  There is a history of compliance and prompt attention to meet actions and recommendations. Any reasons why actions cannot be met are discussed prior to the date by which the action must be completed.Overall judgement of satisfactoryThis applies to provision that is sound.A satisfactory service is one where all the following apply.  Being healthy, staying safe and organisation are all judged as satisfactory or better. At least one other outcome must be judged as satisfactory or better, so that four out of six outcomes must be judged as least satisfactory.The other areas to consider when making a judgement of satisfactory are as follows.  Outcomes for individual children and young people are acceptable and demonstrate care that generally meets their individual needs.  Children and young people’s needs and views are generally taken into account in the development of the service, and some effort is made to consult the children and young people. There is some evidence that children and young people’s views are taken into account to develop the service.  Diversity and equality are suitably promoted in most aspects of the service.  There is an adequate quality assurance system.  There is a history of complaints being dealt with to a satisfactory standard. There is a history of the service taking action to comply with regulations and meet national minimum standards although there may be rare occasions when recommendations or actions have not been met. In such circumstances there are agreed acceptable reasons that the service can promptly overcome and meet them. The service addresses the issue when required to do so for a second time.10 Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements
  11. 11. Overall judgement of inadequate – notice of action toimproveThis applies to provision that is weak.An inadequate service that requires a notice of action to improve is one where thefollowing apply.  One or more of the individual judgements for being healthy, staying safe or organisation are judged as inadequate  Practice gives cause for concern: it needs attention, but the setting has the capacity to improve without external help and support.  There are some strengths that may, on occasion, include outcomes judged as good or outstanding.  There is an area of failure that has a significant impact on the welfare of children and young people, or areas that result in a significant failure to protect the welfare of children and young people. This is likely to result in raising high numbers of actions.  Issues identified at a previous inspection may not have been rectified, but there is evidence of capacity and/or willingness to improve.  Outcomes for children and young people are inadequate, and there is a generally low service performance that does not safeguard their welfare.  There is a poor understanding of and approach to equality and diversity.  There is a history of complaints which demonstrates that these are not dealt with in a satisfactory way.Overall judgement of inadequate – enforcement actionThis applies to provision that is weak.An inadequate service where enforcement action occurs is one where any one of thefollowing apply.  There is an immediate risk to children and young people, or there is a breach of regulations which constitutes an offence.  There is a history of failure to comply with national minimum standards and regulations; or a failure to take satisfactory action to meet requirements/actions and recommendations. Breaches of regulations resulting in a previous judgement of inadequate have not been met and there are no other circumstances to take into account. Please refer to the ‘There is a history of compliance and prompt attention…’ bullet point on page 10.  There is a very poor understanding and approach to equality and diversity. Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements 11
  12. 12.  The service provider is unable or unwilling to bring about improvement without enforcement action.  There is a history of complaints which demonstrates that these are not dealt with in a satisfactory way.  Overall the quality of the service is very poor.12 Benchmarking guidance on making social care inspection judgements

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