About the Minimum Standards
The Minimum Standards are in place to ensure the safe and appropriate accommodation of young people.
As outlined in the SaILs Service Specification ‘The Minimum Standards are designed to supplement Local Authority monitoring visits and quality assurance; they are to ensure that the required policies, paperwork and relevant documents are in place.’
The Minimum Standards were co-produced with providers and have been subject to iterative review and refinement since their launch in 2010. Most recently this has included amendments to facilitate remote assessments due to the restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The North West authorities have committed to only use SaILs providers who have passed the Minimum Standards. Only providers on the NW SaILs contract receive Minimum Standards assessments.
Minimum Standards assessments are carried out by a Monitoring Officer from Placements North West.
Providers who are covered by the Minimum Standards are not regulated by Ofsted or the CQC and are offering support rather than care. Clarification on the distinction between support and care from the SaILs DPS tender documents is included in the downloads section.
All providers who are on the 2020 SaILs Contract will receive a Minimum Standards assessment. Providers are selected for assessment systematically. Providers who are new to the regional contract and have not yet received an assessment and those who have not had an assessment for a long time are prioritised.
Assessments can be made on providers who do not yet have young people in placement but may require additional follow up after a placement is made.
Each Minimum Standards assessment covers the following areas:
• Safer Recruitment
• Health, safety and fire risk
• Buildings regulations /requirements
• Delivered support
• Quality assurance and monitoring including complaints process
• Staffing and visitor Records
Providers who only offer Floating Support receive a shortened version of the assessment to acknowledge that they do not need to meet the standards around accommodation.
The assessments are not intended to replace local authority monitoring but to get a basic level of quality and consistency across the region. The visits do not cover the quality element of the provision, young people’s records or outcomes, this would be the role of the placing authority.
At tender certification for safety checks is requested and this is followed up by a random sample being checked at the Minimum Standards assessment. Placing authorities would need to check that this documentation is up to date at the time of placement.