“In our experience, it is not possible to succeed in providing exemplary residential child care without significant advice, support and guidance”

Opening a new children’s home?

If you are in the process of registering a new children’s home, ICHA membership can help.

ICHA associate membership is available to a new residential child care organisation, as long as your application for OFSTED registration has already been submitted. Once your registration is complete you will become a full ICHA member.

ICHA membership is highly recommended to all new residential child care providers. The challenges in beginning to operate a new children’s home are many and complex, ranging from stringent regulatory requirements to staffing issues, not to mention the abilty to provide appropriate care in a safe and homely environment.

In our experience, it is not possible to succeed in providing exemplary residential child care without significant advice, support and guidance – whether from specialist consultants or more experienced organisations who have completed the same journey.  ICHA’s information and support services and the spirit of mutual support and collaboration that exists amongst our membership are of enormous benefit to new providers in the residential child care sector.

ICHA membership for new children’s homes

ICHA requires members already have a registered home, however, if you have an application already ‘submitted to Ofsted’ awaiting finalisation, you would be eligible to apply to become an Associate ‘Holding’ Member with a proviso that you are required to notify ICHA, once your registration is finalised. You would then become a ‘full ICHA member’.

Advice for new providers

ICHA would caution anyone who is not experienced in residential child-care to be aware of the current regulatory and market conditions, and to have researched the need in your proposed geographic location very carefully.

The sector is highly regulated and you will need to meet stringent requirements before you can operate. The lead-in time to establishing a children’s home is substantial and you will be faced with significant setup costs, You must ensure that you have significant capital to last you through to accepting children.

Initial consideration will need to be given to the type of property required, whether you will rent or buy, where it is located both for safety reasons and in relation to neighbours, and whether you will need planning permission.

Staffing will be your most significant initial and ongoing cost. You will need an initial cohort of staff with a degree of sector experience and you must employ a suitable Manager-who will be key to your future success. They will need to be experienced and knowledgeable and have the ability to demonstrate this to OFSTED, in order to become registered.

All of this and more must be in place before you can submit your application to Ofsted which must be complete before they will process it. It is probable that Ofsted will then take around 16 weeks before registration is granted.

We therefore strongly advise that before taking any steps, you first do a substantial amount of background work to familiarise yourself with the sector and its requirements.

If you’re opening a children’s home, having the right insurance to protect is essential. Having specialist care consultancy on hand to help you with running the home, will prove invaluable too.

Our sponsor, Markel UK, a specialist insurer to the charity and care sector with over 25 years’ experience and, Wilby, a care sector insurance broker, can provide these services at competitive rates for ICHA members.

Members can also obtain care consultancy services from Janjer who advise on a wide range of care-specific issues, including business management, risk management, and business continuity planning. This includes a pay as you go service and a monthly subscription service.

We are also in the process of developing a separate consultancy list and these will be added to the website as they become available.

Please note: You should always undertake your own ‘due diligence’ of any companies/services.

Specialist consultancy for new providers

ICHA is also compiling a list of specialist care consultancy services. Please contact admin@icha.org.uk for further details.