The Department for Education is consulting on whether to regulate the children's home workforce.
The DfE is making a call for evidence welcoming views on establishing professional registration for roles in children’s homes and existing approaches to regulating the children’s homes workforce.
The call for evidence comes in response to a recommendation made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), in its Interim Report published in April 2018.
The report called on the government to introduce professional registration requirements for those working in care roles in children’s homes.
The report said: "The Inquiry has seen that children in residential settings are particularly vulnerable to abuse by adults who are working in those settings and are responsible for their welfare. Yet there are no professional registration requirements in place for staff, other than social workers, working in children’s homes in England, unlike in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland."
“The Inquiry is concerned by the absence of professional registration for those working in care roles in children’s homes in England. It therefore recommends that the Department for Education addresses this,” it added.
Specifically, the recommendations were that:
• The Department for Education introduces arrangements for the registration of staff working in care roles in children’s homes;
• Registration should be with an independent body charged with setting and maintaining standards of training, conduct, and continuing professional development, and with the power to enforce these through fitness to practise procedures; and
• Recognising that registration may require a period of phasing in, priority should be given to professional registration of children’s home managers.
The DfE said that there are measures in place to safeguard vulnerable children, namely, children’s homes must have a manager in place, who is registered with Ofsted and has had their fitness to practice assessed, all staff must have enhanced DBS checks before they can work in a children’s home, and homes must have policies and procedures in place to protect children, which includes appropriate recruitment practice. Ofsted assesses this on inspection and can take enforcement action where necessary, including removing homes and managers from the register.
"While there are comprehensive measures in place to protect children, the Department is clear that we will not be complacent and we welcome views from the sector on the robustness of the existing regime to protect children in children’s homes, particularly where this concerns the workforce. This Call for Evidence will support us to do this," said the DfE.
Launch date 6 June 2019
Respond by 27 August 2019