<p>There are a number of important planned changes in the way that the regulatory function is to be conducted in England<p><p>and Wales in the future (Department of Health, 1998). These include the setting up of independent regional authorities<p><p>responsible for regulating care services, the extension of regulatory requirements to services not currently covered by<p><p>regulatory legislation and the setting of standards at a national level. An important issue to consider in this context is the<p><p>setting of fees to those who are being regulated. A key recommendation of the Burgner report on regulation and inspection<p><p>of social services was that the cost of regulation should be independently reviewed with a view to relating fee levels more<p><p>closely to the actual costs of regulation (Burgner, 1996; p8). <p><p><p>This report describes the results of an extension to a Department of Health and Wales Office funded study of health and<p><p>local authority inspection units in England which had investigated the costs of regulating care homes for adults (Netten,<p><p>Forder and Knight, 1999a). The principal aim of this study was to establish the costs of regulating residential care services<p><p>for children, in a way that could be used to identify cost-based fees to establishments. Residential care services for<p><p>children were taken to include residential homes, family centres, boarding schools, foster care agencies, and adoption<p><p>agencies. <p><p><p>Of these services Units currently have statutory responsibility for inspecting homes registered under the Children’s Act<p><p>1989 and independent boarding schools. The Social Services Inspectorates of the Department of Health and Wales Office<p><p>inspect voluntary homes and voluntary adoption agencies. There are no statutory requirements to regulate the other<p><p>services. Under the Children Act 1989 local authorities have the power to charge a “reasonable” fee for registration and<p><p>inspection of private children’s homes, but voluntary homes, local authority homes and boarding schools do not pay fees. <p><p><p>The main data collection was a survey of local authority and joint inspection units undertaken during the autumn of 1999.<p><p>The data collection built on data collected in the previous survey (Netten, Forder and Knight, 1999a). For this study<p><p>supplementary data were collected about unit policies and practice with respect to services for which they had no statutory<p><p>responsibilities, children’s services’ inspector characteristics and a sample week’s time use; and a sample of recently<p><p>undertaken inspections and registrations. Information was also collected about enforcement actions undertaken during the<p><p>previous year. SSI inspectors involved also provided equivalent information on the amount of time spent on inspecting and<p><p>registering voluntary homes
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