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Ofsted welcomes regulation of supported accommodation

Ofsted has welcomed the government’s plans to introduce national standards for supported accommodation for young people.

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In a letter to education secretary Nadhim Zahawi, Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman said the regulator would be “very happy” to develop and implement a new system of regulation and inspection in line with the timeframe that is set out in your letter.

“The sector faces significant challenges in making sure that all looked after children and care leavers can live in good quality, safe accommodation that meets their individual needs. We know that there is some excellent provision, but the overall quality remains far too variable. The new standards and regulatory oversight are absolutely necessary,” said Amanda Spielman.

The government announced last week that it would be introducing national minimum standards and Ofsted-led registration and inspection for providers of unregulated accommodation for looked after children and care leavers in a bid to drive up standards.

Following a consultation, the Department for Education also announced that it will no longer use the term “unregulated” for accommodation for young people, deeming it unhelpful and carrying “negative connotations even for provision that is often very good and is supporting young people to live semi-independently”.

Responding, Amanda Spielman said a provider-level approach represents “the most appropriate way of regulating and inspecting supported accommodation, given the wide-ranging nature of this kind of provision and the need for support to be able to adapt quickly to young people’s changing needs”.

Amanda Spielman pledged to develop a system that places the interests of young people at its heart.

“If a child aged 16 or 17 is living in supported accommodation, we should expect to see that this is demonstrably in their best interests and that the support they are receiving meets their individual needs,” she concluded.

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