A summary of recent research reports and articles affecting the residential sector.

This month we include a variety of links and articles on subjects such as: current research being undertaken by the University of Birmingham, planning for change from the perspective of an assistant manager, Supreme Court judgement on the use of unregistered children’s homes, updates from Ofsted and an incredibly powerful and poignant article from a care-experienced adult, that will challenge our ideas on ‘independence’ for our young people leaving care.


Thank you for your interest in our bulletin for anyone working with children in residential care. We’ve written and curated information from across the sector and will provide a free update service for residential staff and leaders, commissioners, independent visitors and anyone else interested in the lives of young people living away from home. Every month you’ll find the latest research, discussion pieces and the opportunity to access sector specific training and support.

We’re interested in feedback and in people who want to help co-create the bulletin. If you’ve an idea for an article or are happy to summarise some research you’ve read just drop us a line or call Lucy on 01803 493064.

This month…

Training & Development opportunities

From independence to interdependence- a care experienced adult’s review of the ‘leaving care’ process

Planning for change- a practitioner’s perspective

University of Birmingham research on Improving LGBTQ+ Young People Experiences of Social Care

Ofsted- new research from Ofsted on children’s homes providing short breaks

Ofsted- revised guidance for manager’s looking to register for more than one home

A Supreme Court judgement on the provision of unregistered children’s homes in England and unregistered care services in Wales

Nice Draft Guidance- Positive Relationships

A little about us…

dialogue provides training and support to leaders and managers across the residential sector. In addition to a wide range of training we support a Registered Managers and Responsible Individual network in the south west of England, facilitate an innovative and effective commissioner/provider forum and run the national independent person network for Regulation 44 and Standard 20 visitors. We work closely with residential schools, providers, commissioners and the Independent Children’s Homes’ Association and have a pool of about 25 consultants ranging from actors (who supportive our immersive safeguarding training) to former Directors of Children’s Services (who are involved in our leadership and management training for RMs and RIs).

You’re welcome to get in touch to talk to us about how we might work together, or to access our range of sector specific training.

Improving LGBTQ+ Young People Experiences of Social Care

The university of Birmingham have launched a new research project in collaboration with What Works for Children’s Social Care to understand better, the experiences of LGBTQ+ young people in residential care in the UK. The aim of  the research is to improve the practice of social workers by understanding what works and what needs to change, to improve the experiences of young people who identify as LGBTQ+ in residential care.

The research project is two-fold; there will be a collaborative study into the experiences of young people and a study into the training on offer to social workers.

You can find out more information on this project here and if you have young people in your homes who may be interested in taking part in the research project, you can find a letter and details how to get involved here.

updated guidance on applying to run more than one home

Ofsted have updated their guidance for managers’ applying for registration, who are looking to run more than one children’s home. You can read the guidance here.

research on children’s home providing short breaks

Ofsted have undertaken an in-depth study of children’s home providing short breaks only, usually to disabled children.

This research includes data from homes that were active on March 31st 2020.

The main findings from the research were:

  • As at 31 March 2020, there were 167 short-break-only homes in England.
  • A third of all local authorities (LAs) (51, 34%) had no short-break-only homes within their boundaries.
  • Of the 100 LAs that had short-break-only homes within their boundaries: 64 had 1 home, 21 had 2 homes and 15 had 3 or more, including in some of the geographically largest LAs.
  • Most short-break-only homes were LA– or voluntary-sector owned. This was different from children’s homes, which were mostly privately owned.
  • The majority of short-break-only homes (107, 64%) were LA-run, compared with around 15% of children’s homes.
  • The voluntary sector accounted for the second largest number of short-break-only homes (39 homes, 23%).
  • Only 14 short-break-only homes (8%) were privately run.
  • For 17 LAs (11%), the only children’s homes that they ran were short-break-only homes.
  • Data on the children resident in the homes on 31 March, or at any other time in the year, is incomplete. We estimate that 525 children were resident on any one weekday evening in 2019 to 2020.
  • Of the 525 children, just over half (270) were children looked after and just under half (255) were children in need. Almost all of these children lived for most of the year with their parents or carers.
  • Despite the gaps in the available data, we were able to identify 270 children resident on 31 March 2020. These children lived, on average, 8 miles from the short-break-only home.
  • Short-break-only homes have the best inspection profile of any of the 4 sub-groups of children’s homes. They had both proportionately more outstanding and proportionately more good outcome judgements. They had 8 percentage points more good or outstanding judgements than the largest group, children’s homes.
  • Short-break-only homes’ current registered managers (RMs) have been, on average, in post for 4 years and 8 months. This is just over 2 years longer than their children’s homes colleagues

You can read the full report here

inherent jurisdiction – unregistered homes

A recent Supreme Court judgement in the case of an appeal made by child T, has judged that whilst unregistered children’s homes are still illegal, local authorities can use inherent jurisdiction in order to deprive children of the liberty by placing them in accommodation that is elsewhere than in an approved children’s home, as was in T’s case. T had appealed against her placement and deprivation of liberty in an unregistered home, however the court rejected this appeal on the grounds that it is sometimes necessary for local authorities to exert their inherent jurisdiction to place a child in accommodation that keeps them safe, even if this is an unregistered home, if there are no other suitable options available. The judgement was helpful however in reiterating that unregistered children’s homes are illegal and it is an offence to run one.

You can review the summary decision video here.

You can also access the full practice guidance related to this here, which is still current and was used as a reference point in this case.

Upcoming Training Courses

Here is our current list of upcoming training. We will continue to risk assess and adapt to ensure any direct delivery is COVID-safe. At present we are considering direct delivery at your venue with socially distanced training, and are slowly looking to return to running face-to-face open sessions later this year.  Most of these courses below are still booked as remote learning throughout this year.

Safeguarding Supervision Training starting 21st September (online)

Developing the role of the RI training on 15th September (in Berkshire)

Avoiding Medication Errors training starting 21st September (online)

Safeguarding for Leaders training starting 4th October (online)

Safer Recruitment training starting 8th November (online)

Reg44 and S20 training starting 4th October (online)

Responsible Individual training starting 1st November (online)