The Voice of the Child

The recent Ofsted framework rollout and the pilot inspection which we were involved in December 2016, has highlighted how it important it is to us that our children’s views are heard and understood.


While a collaborative approach to everything we do has always been our standard way of doing things, we are always looking for ways to improve and enhance the lives of the young people that we work alongside.


One of the strategies we have in place, much like the new Ofsted framework, is carrying out a lot of unannounced visits. These are vital from a safeguarding standpoint as they ensure children are being kept safe. Turning up unannounced and speaking to children allows for unprepared and unprompted conversations; encouraging a natural response to what is going on and how happy they are. By putting both Carer and child on the spot, it is an excellent chance to make sure the home environment is the right one and provides the child the opportunity to have their say.


Additionally, we run monthly support groups with Carers. They write down achievements that month. One thing we have noticed with the recent framework changes is that, in the past when it came to a review, the focus on small moments was lost and only significant milestones were included. Seemingly insignificant, smaller experiences such as an individual learning to tie their own shoelaces, to us are tremendous achievements and they are the measurable building blocks to a child’s progression. We make a point of highlighting and celebrating these in our support group sessions.


In addition to the home visits, we have yearly appraisals incorporating written reports by everyone that works with the young person, including the individual. We include feedback on positive experiences within the foster placement from the Local Authority, the relevant school and staff within Progress.


We are consistently working hard to come up with creative, out-of-the-box ideas to better develop the work we are currently doing. As a result of this collaborative brainstorming, our ‘voice of the child’ themed big family fun day was born. We host family events and invite foster carers, young people and all of our team. During the day, there is food, entertainment and informal chats with the children. The feedback from the event tells us what is like from first person perspective to be looked after in our care; finding out what we are doing well and what needs improvement, what the individual likes, what don’t they like and how they believe we can improve. We wanted to give the opportunity for children to have their voice – directly and our family fun days provide that opportunity.


For more information about our fostering service, please get in touch today.

You can call 01902 5601066, email or drop you details below.


Supporting positive change




  1. forward or onward movement towards a destination.


As of April 2017, the updated Ofsted Social Care Common Inspection Framework (SCCIF) changed the way inspection took place within independent Fostering Agencies. The Ofsted fundamental principle of inspection is to focus on the things that matter most to children’s lives; they want to change the way most Fostering Agencies operate. Fortunately for us here at Progress, the voice of the child and fulfilment of positive development and experiences are and will always be our priority. This has been the focus of our company model from the offset.

To roll out the new framework, back in December 2016 there were pilot tests carried out on small, medium and large Fostering Agencies. Out of the 314 put forward, we were one of the three companies selected and were categorised as the medium Fostering Agency.

In the past, inspections came with fair warning ahead of time, and the framework of the review was central to lots of paperwork and documentation rather than capturing moments through conversations. During the pilot, 24 hours’ notice was given. 9am Monday morning we got the call to say we had been chosen and the weeks’ inspection began the following day.

The purpose of the new model is to look at children’s experience in foster care, personal progression, as well as positive experiences. The inspection quite clearly concentrated heavily on this improved approach and pinpointed how providers and agencies are making a difference in children’s lives, ‘from the mouths of babes’ rather than basing opinions on what has been written down.

With our four core values being care, trust, respect and progress and with progress literally being the name of our agency as well as underpinning our ethos and philosophy, we found this new framework interesting. Inspection week not only highlighted to us the fantastic work we are achieving but was also refreshing to see the regulatory bodies of the industry recognising where the priority of review should be focused; around the voice of the child.

During inspection week, the reviewers concentrated on talking to the Carers and young people, using the feedback given as a measure of how we are making a difference; by showing we are giving the right support and have the right resources indicated that we are doing something right. The quality of the relationships between Careers, professionals and children is important and we believe there is a direct correlation between how well prepared a Carer is, to the progression of a young person in placement with them.

The conversations that took place during inspection week strengthened our confidence that we were on the right track, especially as we specialise in supporting young people with disabilities. We make sure that Carers with specialist placements have the additional training and support they need and as required by the individual child.

A month after the initial pilot week, all Fostering Agencies were invited to go to the Ofsted conference to learn about the new framework. We were delighted that Tina Bhardwaj, our Fostering Manager was requested to run a training programme for the inspectors. We will be delighted to tell you more about our involvement or our agency – feel free to get in touch. You can drop us your details in the ‘Contact Us’ form below, call us on 01902 561066 or email