[013.21] Do we really need an independent visitor in children’s homes?

According to the Children’s Homes regulations, each setting needs to hire a person, independent, to visit the home monthly and produce a report where an assessment of the current situation is made, giving recommendations of what should be changed. This report is then, after receiving comments from the Registered Manager and Responsible Individual sent to Ofsted and potentially shared with LA’s and other agencies.

It is the responsabilities of each Children’s Home to guarantee that this independent visitor has the experience, knowledge and skills that will allow him or her to do this job. This independent visitor is paid, directly by the provider or by a “third” person to which the provider request the service.

I’m not going to question the potentially issues with the independence of this independent visitor, as I do believe that everyone has a role and must work accordingly to the demands and requirements of that role, but I would question it’s necessity.

Do we really need an independent visitor in each children’s homes?

Don’t get me wrong… We do need someone to work with the provider with a goal of continuos development of the service. But couldn’t this be done in a different way?

For example, couldn’t this monthly (let’s call it) audit or inspection be done by Ofsted trained personnel?

Regarding the quality of care provided, the impact is clear. Instead of a 2 or 3 annual days of inspection, Ofsted will have a much better clear understanding of the home, it’s dinamics and practice (that can change so easily). And the provider would have a, at least, monthly feedback of the service being delivered and ways of development and improvement.

Financially, Ofsted fees could be increased with almost no impact at a provider level, as they would not need to pay for the independent visitor.

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