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Ofsted Registration

Ofsted have approved our registration as a care home.

In early 2011, it was indicated to the charity that current regulations for children's homes could be interpreted to cover the charity's annual camp. After consulting widely to try and work out if this was the case, eventually it was decided the charity was going to have to apply for registration, and as time was running short the required documents were drawn up quickly through a lot of hard work by committee member and long-term helper, Andy Powell.

The documents were submitted and Andy continued to have discussions with Ofsted about next steps. They decided that the camp would have to be inspected, and so in August our 50th annual camp had an Ofsted inspector as a guest for a few hours, who interviewed a selection of committee members and helpers, as well as our Ofsted "Responsible Individual" and "Registered Manager".

The camp finished, tired children were packed off home, and time passed. In October, the first committee meeting after the 2011 annual camp was held, and Andy had just heard that our registration had been approved. This was excellent news, and a testament to the hard work of the committee members, the helpers and most of all Andy in getting everything organised to demonstrate how we work as a team, for the children that attend our camp.

The story doesn't stop there, though.

In the process of seeking advice about whether we needed to pursue registration, it was generally acknowledged that the regulations did not appear to have been intended to apply to us. Indeed, the regulations are worded in such a way that organisations such as the Scouts, etc do not need to register nor be inspected. It is our special situation of providing care for mainly disabled children that mean that we fall into the net of needing children's home registration.

Secondly, in order to be registered, the charity has to pay a registration fee - and as we're registered as a children's home, we pay the same fee as if we were operating for 52 weeks of the year, not just one week.

The charity's view is that the way the regulations currently lie may be inconsistent with the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, and that the regulations should be changed so that any registration burden deemed necessary is applied equally to organisations whether or not they provide services wholly or partly to people with disabilities. We also feel that a framework of fees for any registration required should take into consideration the voluntary nature of charitable work, and the amount of time an organisation is actively operating under its registration for.

So where do we go from here?

Representing the committee, our President, Mike, has written to the MPs that cover the camp's home county of Wirral in the hope that they will be able to help change to be made in this area.

Ofsted have also raised the issue internally with the Department for Education for a review of the regulations.

As soon as we know any more, we'll let you know.