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: Top tips on applying to register a children’s home, Ofsted’s response to the Case for Change, TACT’s report and suggestion for a new national care service, NICE guidance- Diversity , research on leaving care programmes, the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on mental health and a High Court Judge’s ruling on unregulated provision.


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

Nice Draft Guidance- Diversity

Ofsted’s response to the Case for Change

TACT- calls for a new national care service

High Court Judge rules in favour of unregulated placement for 15 year-old girl

Ofsted’s ‘Top Tips’ on registering a Children’s Home

Research on support for care leavers

Mental Health Network- the ongoing impact of Covid-19

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.

Applying to register a children’s home: top tips

Yvette Stanley have written a blog article providing you with tips to guide you through the registration process. As Yvette says ”applying to register and operate a children’s home is a significant undertaking and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Your application will have a better chance of success if you are prepared”  You find the article here.

We can also provide consultancy and support during this process. Please get in touch with us…

A leading fostering charity calls for a ground-breaking new national care service

TACT Fostering have published a report in which they propose a new ‘national care family’ which would take over responsibility for children who return to their birth parents from care and the youth justice system. There are some interesting points raised in the report including the idea that being ‘care experienced’ would become a protected characteristic, leading to life-long support for care experienced individuals.

TACT CEO, Andy Elvin, says that “All children in care, or in families created through social services’ intervention, require a Service that is dedicated to them and their families”. Rather than a review of the current systems in place he states that in order to ”[…] To transform outcomes for children, we need transformative change in our approach, systems, and structures”.

You can read the full report here

Ofsted’s response to the Case for Change

Yvette Stanley has published a blog post in response to the Case for Change in which she states:

‘There’s much we can agree with in the report. For example, we are glad to see the review echo the call that we (and many others) have made for a cross-government approach to achieving solutions. We were delighted to see the review stress the need for increased support for kinship carers. We welcome the emphasis placed on effective early intervention and support for families, which will require significant investment’

The blog post goes on to say that it is good to see the report raising links between depravation and families’ involvement in social care, and welcomes further review in this area.

However there are areas in which Ofsted challenge the reports findings. For example, they disagree that LA’s are routinely undertaking unnecessary child protection investigations, nor do they agree that separate roles are required for supporting families and young people- arguing that ‘fragmenting the continuum of help and protection could lead to less sensitive management of risk, increased bureaucracy, and disproportionate intervention.’

The response does acknowledge the influence Ofsted can have on practice and suggests ‘we’ll continue to listen to all feedback and do all we can to work consistently.’

You can read the full Ofsted response here

more evidence that mental health support for children and young people is reaching tipping point.

Back in July’s bulletin we wrote an article on the state of mental health support for children and young people, and the outlook wasn’t good.

In August a further report was released, this time from the Mental Health Network. The key points from the report are as follows:

• There is mounting concern that the mental health system for children and young people in England is reaching tipping point, with the COVID-19 pandemic having exacerbated existing challenges, including mental health inequalities.

• There are significant increases in demand for mental health support for children and young people across all services – from primary care to NHS specialist mental health services, voluntary sector, independent sector, and digital providers – but also pressures on acute trusts and local authorities. As many as 1.5 million children and young people may need new or additional mental health support as a result of the pandemic. This figure could be even higher when considering unmet need.

• In particular, demand for support for eating disorders has risen dramatically over the course of the last year. The number of young people completing an urgent pathway for eating disorders has increased by 141 per cent between quarter four in 2019/20 and quarter one in 2021/22.

• Further funding is required to address the increase in demand and to continue the transformation of services and support for children and young people, especially support in schools and other educational settings.

• This needs to include a greater focus on early intervention and addressing the social determinants of mental health. While there is intense pressure on beds now, priority must be given to preventative and early intervention services over the medium to-long term.

• However, funding alone will not address the problems. It is essential that we address chronic staffing shortages and challenges, including by investing in more children and young people’s mental health specialists and in training and education of the wider workforce.

• Children and young people’s mental health must be a priority for integrated care systems (ICS). They need to focus on addressing the fragmentation of children and young people’s mental health services that many people experience, and improve access to both early intervention and specialist mental health services.

You can read the full report here.

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)