Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

30th September 2015

Can a 21 year old be in charge of a residential care home?

Can a 21 year old be in charge of a residential care home , level 3 qualified.. And the only other member of staff was 17 years old.. 'm asking this question because I was put in a situation that I believe was wrong on so many levels..
I was finishing my shift, when a client had to go to hospital. I'm 37 years old and hold level 4 in social care.. I could not get hold of the manager, so I had to send a member of staff to hospital.. However, once my shift had finished, the home would only be staff by young adults.. 21 & 17.. I decided to stay on until the manger and another member of staff could take over.

Dear Kelly,

I believe that you are describing an emergency situation that could not have been anticipated.

You did exactly the right thing in staying on if you were concerned that this specific 21 year old did not have the experience or expertise to be left in charge.

Being 21 should not bar someone from being left in charge, nor indeed from being a Registered Manager.

I am assuming that you risk assessed (probably not formally)the situation and decided that you would stay on duty until someone more senior was able to take over from you.

If possible, with the Manager, you should learn from this incident and if possible develop a specific policy in case such a thing happens again.

Best wishes.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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