Staff Qualifications


Children's Homes Regulations Amendments 2014: Advice for Children's Homes Providers on New Duties under Amendments to Regulations that came into effect in January and April 2014

Quality Standards ANNEX A: Qualifications for Staff Working in Children's Homes


In November 2021 a note was added regarding the checks which employers must carry out to ensure that any person applying to work in the home has the right to work in the UK. See Section 3, Safe Recruitment and Employment Checks.


  1. Qualifications of Manager
  2. Qualifications of Staff
  3. Safe Recruitment and Employment Checks
  4. Safer Recruitment Policy

1. Qualifications of Manager

Regulation 28 of the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 requires the registered manager to hold a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management for Residential Care or an equivalent qualification.

If a manager was managing a home on 1 April 2014, they should have gained the qualification by 1 April 2017. Any manager starting to manage a home after 1 April 2014 has 3 years to gain it.

Regulation 28 does allow for the date to gain the qualification to be deferred if a manager has a break in managing a home or if they work part-time.

If a registered manager was managing a Children’s Home prior to April 2014, and they do not now hold the level 5 qualification or equivalent, they are in breach of regulation 28 unless they have a good reason for a deferral.

If the registered manager holds a qualification they regard as equivalent, they should be able to demonstrate how their qualification meets the competencies in the level 5 diploma and any additional training they have completed to fill any gaps.

Regulation 28 also identifies the following experience as necessary for a person managing a Children’s Home:

  • Within the last 5 years, they have worked for at least 2 years in a position relevant to the residential care of children; and
  • They have worked for at least 1 year in a role requiring the supervision and management of staff working in a care role (i.e. a position which consists mainly or solely of providing care for children).

Ofsted inspectors will ask to see evidence of qualifications as part of an inspection.

2. Qualifications of Staff

Regulation 32 of the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 requires Children’s Home staff to have the appropriate experience, qualifications and skills for the work they will perform. For staff in a care role, the regulation requires them to obtain the Level 3 Diploma for Residential Childcare or an equivalent qualification.

If the staff member was working in a care role in a home on 1 April 2014 they should have gained the qualification by 1 April 2016. Any members of staff starting to work in a care role after 1 April 2014 have 2 years to gain the qualification.

Regulation 32 does allow for the date to gain the qualification to be deferred if the staff member has a break in working in a home or if they have worked part-time.

In relation to staff, the regulations also require that:

  1. The individual is of integrity and good character;
  2. The individual has the appropriate experience, qualification and skills for the work that the individual is to perform;
  3. The individual is mentally and physically fit for the purposes of the work that the individual is to perform; and
  4. Full and satisfactory information is available in relation to the individual in respect of each of the matters in Schedule 2 (e.g. enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Check, 2 written references, evidence of relevant qualifications and full employment history (including where a person has previously worked in a position involving work with children or vulnerable adults, verification of why the employment or position ended).

As part of an inspection of the Home, inspectors will take the following into account:

  • The attitude and knowledge of the registered person in relation to staff training and development;
  • The impact of lack of qualification/training on practice and in particular the quality of care provided to those living in the children’s home; and
  • The rationale and individual circumstances taken into account for staff who have been granted a deferral of the time period required to attain the qualification, and arrangements for review of that deferral.

Where none (or very few) of the staff in a home are qualified, and there is no prospect that the remaining staff will achieve the qualification within 6 months or by the relevant date, the judgement for the effectiveness of leaders and managers is likely to be inadequate, and certainly no more than requires improvement.

3.  Safe Recruitment and Employment Checks

Schedule 2 of the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 requires the following checks for people who wish to manage or work in a Children’s Home:

  • Proof of identity including a recent photograph;
  • An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (depending on the nature of the role);
  • Two written references, including a reference from the person’s most recent employer, if any;
  • If a person has previously worked in a position involving work with children or vulnerable adults, verification so far as reasonably practicable of the reason why the employment or position ended;
  • Documentary evidence of any qualifications which the person considers relevant for the position; and
  • A full employment history, together with a satisfactory explanation of any gaps in employment, in writing.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks

The appropriate level DBS checks must be carried out before a person is appointed to engage in Regulated Activity within the Home. To determine which level of DBS check a role is eligible for, refer to the DBS Eligibility Guidance (GOV.UK).

The information contained in an up-to-date DBS certificate must be reviewed to decide whether this reveals any concerns about the person’s suitability to work with children. If there are concerns, the information must be used to come to a conclusion whether or not to appoint the person. Providers and managers must keep up-to-date with what constitutes Regulated Activity and fully investigate any information that indicates that a person may be barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.

Anyone who is barred from work with children is committing an offence if they apply for, offer to do, accept or do any work constituting Regulated Activity. It is also an offence for an employer knowingly to offer work in a regulated position, or to procure work in a regulated position for an individual who is disqualified from working with children, or fail to remove such an individual from such work.

Once appointed, a person must continue to meet the remit-specific regulatory requirements after the initial recruitment process.

In relation to the Disclosure and Barring Service checks, the following must be recorded:

  • The date the DBS check was carried out;
  • The DBS certificate number;
  • The name of the person who checked the original certificate;
  • Whether there was any information or concerns arising from the check that required further attention before you decided to appoint the individual;
  • The name of the person who carried out the update check, if the individual is registered with the DBS update service;
  • If concerns were identified once a person was appointed, steps you have taken to review a person’s suitability to continue to work with children;
  • What actions you take if a person changes their role after they have been appointed;
  • The actions you have taken in order to protect children from contact with unsuitable persons; this may include referral to the DBS or other relevant authorities.

Disclosure and Barring Service checks should be:

  • Treated as confidential;
  • Kept secure;
  • Destroyed as soon as no longer required.

Information on checks for candidates who have spent time abroad or have come from abroad can be found at: GOV.UK, Criminal records checks for overseas applicants.

Please note: A DBS check has no official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out. It’s up to you to decide when a new check is needed. The frequency at which DBS checks will be repeated should be detailed in the Safer Recruitment Policy.

Disclosure and Barring Service Update Service

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), operate an optional Update Service which is designed to reduce the number of DBS checks requested.

Instead of a new check being necessary whenever an individual applies for a new role working with children, individuals can opt to subscribe to the online Update Service. This will allow them to keep their DBS certificate up to date, so that they can take it with them from role to role, within the children’s workforce.

Employers do not need to register, but can carry out free, instant, online status checks of a registered individual's status. A new DBS check will only be necessary if the status check indicates a change in the individual's status (because new information has been added). See GOV.UK for more information.

For the latest guidance on DBS referrals, see the GOV.UK website.

Checking an applicant’s right to work in the UK

As part of the recruitment process, you must also check that the applicant has the right to work in the UK.

See: GOV.UK: Checking a Job Applicants Right to Work.

Employers can be penalised / fined if they employ someone who does not have the right to work and they did not carry out the correct checks, or did not do them properly.

4. Safer Recruitment Policy

Please consult Benecare’s recruitment policy.