Coram Voice response to the supported accommodation consultation

13 Apr 23

This month Ofsted starts registering Supported Accommodation providers so they can inspect homes for 16 and 17 years old in care next year. The Department for Education published new guidance and regulations last month. Coram Voice responded to the consultation and have supported young people to inform Ofsted’s work in this area.

Whilst we welcome some of the language of the quality standards that emphasise the importance of trusting relationships, feeling safe, young people’s voice, we remain concerned about the creation of regulations that specifies that some looked after children do not require care. The proposed framework focuses more on managing accommodation rather than providing a nurturing home environment. All children in care deserve to live in homes where they feel safe, settled and cared about.

We believe that the reforms reinforce a two-tier system of children’s social care where children in supported accommodation do not get the care children in other placements would get. We are concerned that this means that some vulnerable children and young people are not adequately supported.

In our Bright Spots research (Selwyn & Briheim-Crookall (2022) we found that a greater proportion of young people in residential care and living ‘somewhere else’ (mostly supported accommodation, but also other settings like prison or hospital) reported lower well-being, e.g. more did not feel safe where they lived, disliked their bedrooms, did not have a trusted adult, and felt the adults they live with did not notice how they were feeling.

Looked after children’s well-being by placement type


Through our Always Heard national advocacy helpline and safety net young people have told us about feeling unsafe in the places that they have been placed. Some young people responding to our Your Life Your Care survey also describe negative experiences in supported accommodation:

“I would live with nicer people. They just start all the time, arguing, fighting, shouting, I cannot sleep properly. I cannot cook in the kitchen because it is so dirty. You do not really feel human with social workers. They do not care.” (young person responding to Bright Spots survey)

Brigid Robinson said “We believe that children are children until they turn 18 and support should be consistent throughout their time in care. The state has a responsibility to ensure that all young people in care are provided care until they are adults. They should get the support and care they need to feel safe and thrive.”

Whilst we disagree with the reforms we will continue to support young people to have a voice as the framework is being developed. We believe it is essential that care experienced children and young people are given a platform to be heard when decisions are made that are important to their lives.