We are concerned by recent reports around some unregulated provision, in particular increasing issues about the vulnerability of young people in unregulated accommodation to organised crime, including county lines.
- Unregulated provision is accommodation for young people aged 16 and over who need support to live independently, but do not need full time care. Where unregulated provision is of high quality, it can provide important flexibility and support young people towards independence. Unregulated provision must not be confused with unregistered provision, which is illegal.
- Councils, as corporate parents, have a responsibility to ensure that any placement is safe and suited to the needs of the individual young person. Councils will use a variety of methods to ensure the quality of unregulated provision, including putting in place support plans for young people.
- We are concerned by recent reports around some unregulated provision, in particular increasing issues about the vulnerability of young people in unregulated accommodation to organised crime, including county lines. Where a child is considered particularly vulnerable, support plans should balance any risks posed to the young person with the need to ensure they are able to live a ‘normal’ life. This is especially true of older children.
- Year-on-year increases in the number of children entering the care system means services are under significant and increasing pressure. While unregulated settings are the right accommodation for some young people, rising use is partly driven by shortfalls in places in registered children’s homes, often for young people with more complex needs.
- Financial pressures on children services are limiting council’s efforts to develop and maintain the right provision locally. It can mean they are forced to place children out of area or in placements that are not best suited to their needs.
- Providers of unregulated accommodation should work with councils, the police and other partners to ensure the safety and wellbeing of young people in their setting. We welcome calls for increased expectations around the delivery of provider services. While full regulation could limit flexibility, clear standards and transparency would support councils and providers to work together to meet the needs of young people.
Download the full briefing
Sixteen to 17 year olds in unregulated accommodation, House of Commons, 15 October 2019