Ofsted launch a new consultation for residential holiday schemes

5th June 2014 at 01:00

We’re proposing to change the way we inspect residential holiday schemes for disabled children. We welcome your views on our proposals and a consultation is now open.


What is a residential holiday scheme for disabled children?

Schemes provide care and accommodation wholly, or mainly, for disabled children. There are two key points to note:

  • They provide this service for a specified period, and
  • They are specifically for a holiday, or for recreational, sporting, cultural or educational purposes.

Schemes can operate at any time throughout the year. There is no minimum number of days they can operate. However, they cannot operate for more than 56 days in any 12-month period. No individual child can be accommodated for more than 28 consecutive days in any 12-month period.

The government has developed regulations that set out the definition of a holiday scheme and how it should operate. A service that meets the definition of a residential holiday scheme for disabled children must register with Ofsted before it can operate. The regulations make it clear that it is a criminal offence to carry on or manage a residential holiday scheme for disabled children without registration. This helps to prevent unsuitable people from owning, operating, managing or working within holiday schemes for disabled children. It’s essential that you make sure a scheme is registered before using these services.


How will Ofsted inspect these services?

The frequency of inspections is set out in regulations, which say we must inspect residential holiday schemes at least once a year. Inspectors can take up to two days to carry out inspections. Some of the things that influence the timing of an inspection include:

  • The outcomes of previous inspections.
  • Any current complaints or enforcement action.
  • Notifications of any incidents received from a holiday scheme.
  • The period within which the holiday scheme is operational.

We currently inspect these schemes under an interim framework. We are now consulting on a new framework. We have made proposals about:

  • What we think inspectors should expect to be the characteristics of a ‘good’ holiday scheme:
  • How the overall inspection judgement should be limited by ‘inadequate’ judgements in particular areas of practice.
  • Continuing to undertake inspections that are unannounced.
  • How we should seek the views of children, young people and families.



Matthew Brazier, Her Majesty’s Inspector

National Lead, Looked After Children