Reforms to Unregulated Provision for Children in Care and Care Leavers Survey
The Department of Education is seeking views on proposed new measures to ensure that the use of independent and semi-independent provision (commonly known as unregulated provision) provides the right level of support and does not place children in care and care leavers at risk.
BASW would like to consult with members directly before sending a collective response. Please see the questions below which the DfE has requested consultation upon. Any views or thoughts you may have would be enormously appreciated.
When local authorities place young people in ‘other arrangements’, offering independent or semi-independent provision (often referred to as unregulated or unregistered), they are responsible for ensuring the placement provides the level of support that the young person needs.
6,180 looked after children were placed in independent and semi-independent provision at 31 March 2019, a 19% increase from the same point in 2018.
There were 100 children under the age of 16 placed in this provision at 31 March 2019. While local authorities have local measures in place to quality assure the provision, the quality of the provision is variable, and does not always meet the needs of young people and keep them safe.
We know that young people placed in this are more likely to go missing and can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
These issues were covered extensively in research which the Department commissioned last year, overseen by Sir Alan Wood, which has been published alongside this consultation document. This research, ‘Use of unregulated and unregistered provision for children in care’ can be found on GOV.UK.
DfE proposals include:
- Banning the use of independent and semi-independent placements for children and young people under the age of 16;
- Driving up the quality of support offered in independent and semi-independent provision, through the introduction of new national standards, and ensuring that young people’s interests are appropriately represented by their Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO);
- Introducing new measures so that local authorities and local police forces liaise before a placement in this provision is made; and
- Giving Ofsted new legal powers to act against illegal providers
The deadline for submissions is 26 May.