On 4 October 2021, the Department for Education Covid 19 Guidance for Children's Social Care was updated. CoramBAAF are currently reviewing this guidance.
On 1 October 2021 Ofsted included the following paragraph in their weekly information email:
"End of temporary COVID-19 flexibilities
The Department for Education (DfE) has asked us to share this message with you on their behalf:
The regulations that have provided flexibility around virtual visits, health assessments for approvals of adopters and foster carers, and minimum frequency of Ofsted inspections during the pandemic, expired on Thursday 30 September. From Friday 1 October 2021 these regulatory flexibilities are no longer available. The regulations were always intended for use only when necessary and only in response to COVID-19 and, as we have moved into recovery, local authorities’ need to deploy these flexibilities should have lessened. Our guidance will be revised to reflect these changes and published on Monday 4 October.
The temporary regulations included a suspension of the minimum frequency of inspections for children’s social care provision. Following a public consultation The Childcare (Childminder Agencies) (Registration, Inspection and Supply and Disclosure of Information) and Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Fees and Frequency of Inspections) (Children’s Homes etc.) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 came into force on 1 October 2021. These require Ofsted to meet the minimum frequency of inspections “so far as reasonably practicable” between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022 and set out a different frequency of minimum inspections for certain settings for future inspection years."