Regulating children and families services
We register children’s social care services to help:
- protect children and young people
- ensure that the services meet the requirements of the law
- ensure that all involved deliver high-quality outcomes for children and young people, ensuring they are healthy and safe, learn and develop skills for the future, and have an enjoyable and fulfilled life
- communicate the quality of their care to all those involved, including children and young people, parents and carers, and commissioners.
We register five types of children’s social care:
- children's homes
- residential family centres
- independent fostering agencies
- voluntary adoption agencies
- adoption support agencies.
If we register a service then we will also inspect it.
This is what happens when someone applies to provide children’s social care.
- A prospective provider uses our guide to help them apply for registration.
- Before sending their application to us, the applicant needs to have all documents and procedures in place; have a Disclosure and Barring Service (this replaced the Criminal Records Bureau on 1 December 2012: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/dbs) disclosure for everyone who needs one; and have made sure their premises is suitable.
- The applicant plus the person who will manage the service complete all the forms in the application pack and send them to us with the application fee.
- Once we have a completed application we will carry out checks and get references for each person to make sure they are suitable. We carry out interviews and visit the premises that will be used.
- When we have completed the registration visit, all the checks are complete and, where necessary, the applicant has completed any actions required, we will decide whether to grant registration or refuse it.
If we decide to register the applicant we issue a certificate of registration. A provider cannot begin running a children’s social care service until they have their certificate and must display it where people can see it.
If we intend to refuse registration we write to tell the applicant.
Refusing registration is a serious step and may prevent the applicant from working in children’s social care or running a service.
If we refuse registration, then the applicant can appeal.
The application fee covers the process of registration. After registration the fees that affect providers are:
- annual fees
- fees to register a new manager
- fees to vary a condition of registration.
How long will my application take?
Ofsted’s timescales for the registration process are published in our Guide to registration for children’s social care services. Applications are not subject to tacit approval under the EU Services Directive. Tacit approval relates to a situation in which an authority does not process an application for registration within the published timescales and the application as a result becomes deemed as having been granted. It does not apply to applications to Ofsted for registration as a children’s social care provider because different arrangements are in place for overriding reasons relating to the public interest, namely the need to safeguard and protect children’s welfare (Provision of Services Regulations 2009, regulations 19(5) and (6)).
We aim to carry out our work smoothly and without incident. However, if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the registration process please contact us. The details of our complaints procedure are available here: Complaints procedure: raising concerns and making complaints about Ofsted.