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Criminal Care? · 12 Sep 2018

Ofsted to publish inspection profile of largest private children’s homes providers

While this blog was on holiday, Ofsted announced it would be publishing an inspection profile of the top 10 largest private children’s homes providers this autumn.

As readers of this blog will know, we are concerned about the lack of oversight of and transparency in the children’s residential care sector, where 73 per cent of active children’s homes in what is a growing sector are now owned and run by private companies for shareholder profits. This market is increasingly being dominated by very large providers. In late summer 2017, 33 large organisations ran 36 per cent of children’s homes, with the largest five owning around 17 per cent.

The largest five private providers own 17 per cent of children’s homes

The decline in local authority-run homes and the increase in privately-run homes has happened with, it seems, a worrying lack of interest from central government. Ministers of varying stripes have been content to allow market forces to shape a sector responsible for looking after some of the most vulnerable children with often complex needs. While we know there is some excellent practice in the private sector, we have heard numerous accounts of poor practice from children and young people, the police and other professionals. We recently reported on an investigation by Buzzfeed which had revealed serious issues in some homes run by the Cambian Group, one of the largest providers of children’s residential care (see our blog of 26 July). A second report published by Buzzfeed at the beginning of August examined the tragic suicide of a boy living in a home owned by the Keys Group in 2010, highlighting many areas of concern about his care.

We are pleased that the inspectorate has identified the need to understand what is happening in the sector and that it is taking the initiative to examine and report on the data available to it.

This latest announcement follows on from a new requirement by Ofsted, introduced in April this year, that children’s homes include data on police call-outs on their pre-inspection questionnaires. This data will be analysed at an exploratory level in the autumn. This combination of initiatives from Ofsted will, we hope, throw light on the children’s homes sector and contribute to our work to end the criminalisation of children in residential care.

Claire Sands


  • Laila says:

    I was in the system and that is what it is system no love no cuddles no family.ok you have a building with a door windows extra but no one there personaly when staff change shifts people leave so on that is not sterbilerty that’s a just a building with wordons as a 9 year old nortey girl I was sent on a ride coming home from school to 2social workers taking me for a ride I had no choice I remember the dark lanes we went down it was like it was such a long lane dark we came to a big house I was taken to a room with bars on windows and my bedroom door locked. I was moved a couple of times until they found me a children’s home to stay to long dormertrys girls on one side boys on other it was ok but huw was i I needed to be loved I was a child inersunt I became a woman in there I didn’t no what to do huwto arsked forhelp I hid my under were under bed that’s not right this went on for a while before someone found them under my mattress I was called to office and told off didn’t arsked why this happened or if I needed help or a talk no one ever came to me read me a story before bed or tucked me in helped me put my coat on gave me confidence gave me praise spoke about my family or explained what was happening and why after me settling a cupple of weeks I was supposed to just go through the mosions I suppose I did there were teanagers lot bigger older Than. Me they whould shout swear be aggressive to each other and staff it was frighteneding for me going to bed fightend wakeing to go to breakfast to be intimidated by older children as a child it’s really not good structured times for eating yes children need structure but they need normalerty that means watching television eating on a tray infront of television normality don’t exist in theses places we had teanagers takeing gas from bottles in front of home on grass off there heads telling us small ones to do the same never did I want that but I was frightened I had to sit with them sucking something I didn’t want to I was scared they were big load aggressive were we’re staff why should I be subject to that I had no choice I had no voice I was no one nothing I did go home eventually after being put through a horrible not fit for purpose system disfunsenal I went on to get no education dislecsick and dispracksick no one cared enough to notice Evan though there was school in building no one noticed I started modelling for shops magazines but my life was never going anywhere posertive money I had clothes holidays everything a young woman wants . But I realised down the line as I become a mother latter down the line the system completely was no good for me it made me self conscious no confidence in my self low selfasteme but the one thing it really did was feal unloved so what do I do look for it sleeping with people any one really to feal love but they didn’t want me no one wants anyone huw don’t love there self I couldn’t do that as if no one showed me love how could I love my self I was to good for these things I was sleeping with then fighting for but that’s were system is all wrong no one was there to tell me that this had a massive impact on my life I had children young trying to make a family I never had I had a big house beautiful everything no money worries everything a young woman could want but inside I had nothing it goes back to system I could go on I won’t can’t anyone see this crime drugs extra leads from leaving family if you take a child why take them from all family why no contact do you not realise children my need removeing from danger but why condemn all family and believe me this is happening all the time children are cut of detachment and if children struggle with vistits do you not fink it because they now it’s so long before they see the people they were safe and loved with happy with don’t they realise that to be taken from there home they could probably handle as they should settle if it’s isthe right thing they will love there mum dad but will normally understand but then to cut off there grandparents huw normally are very close with no justification only in there interest no no no this is not in there interest this is terrible children will and can understand the reason that this happened s but to cut of from there beloved family is evil is soul destroying with no regard to humanity and leaves children fighting angry and without doubt moved around separating from siblings and just going off rail s my point is LA needs to address its system it’s currped not fit for purpose disfunsional it don’t need more money it needs fresh appoch not just digrees it needs nollege this is king forget all these books half educated half normal every day people that have been there a come through this will be there makeing of them if the system stays the way it is lies coverups mistakes takeing children because it’s easyer then you will have more angry people on your hands with nothing to lose they will cost you much more in long run a lot of angry disfusonal people on your hands so starts from social services more help q intervention

  • Jonathan Rigg says:

    Childrens homes are highly regulated by LAs and the inspectorate. Each individual home is inspected at least once per year. LAs will rarely place young people in homes rated less than good.

    Lots of data is available from these inspections.

    Fostering is inspected every 3 years as an organisation and therefore little data is available.

    Leaving care is completely unregulated and therefore no data is available.

    I know where Id be concentrating my efforts and it wouldn’t be on those that are highly regulated.

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