To keep in line with British Council guidelines, we are required to inspect our homestays every two years. If you have been informed that you are due a Homestay re-inspection visit, then it is important that you put as much time and effort into this 2nd, 3rd or 4th visit as you did on your 1st one.
Why we do a Homestay Re-Inspection Visit?
In two years there is a lot of scope for things to change. Whether this be in relation to the accommodation itself, or whether it be to do with how you are finding the whole experience. We need to look at both aspects to ensure that standards are being maintained and that you continue to be happy in your role as Host Family.
Host families who have been hosting for a while sometimes tend not to dedicate enough effort to follow up visits. For example, this might be borne out in homestays that are much less tidy than on the first visit. This is then reflected in the feedback that we receive from our inspector and it can affect whether we continue to place international students with you or not.
What is the process?
Once you have been informed that a re-visit is due, your details will be forwarded to our home inspectors. You will be informed which of our inspectors will cover your area and told to expect contact directly from them. The inspectors are not office based; they work independently of our office based team. This means they manage their own diaries and so can often carry out visits in the evenings and week-ends.
How soon will till I hear from an inspector?
Our homestay inspectors try to work to a turnaround time of two weeks. However, they also need to cluster their home visits. This means they will need 2 or 3 visits in the same area before they can come out to see you. This is the challenging aspect of the role as they are reliant on 2 or 3 host families all being available on the one day that they are trying to schedule.
The need to cluster, as well as to juggle different availabilities, can sometimes mean that there is a delay between the time you are informed of the re-visit and when you hear from our inspector.
How will they contact me?
When you do hear from the inspector it will usually be by email or text message. This will usually be to propose a specific date and time for the visit. Bearing in mind the scheduling challenges above, it is appreciated if you can be as accommodating as possible with the proposal.
If you are not available, please do not ignore the email or text. If you can reply, that will really help the inspector with their scheduling. Thereafter please do in contact with them.
Will they need to take new photos?
Yes. As on the first visit, they will need to take a new batch of photos of all the communal areas, as well as of any student rooms you are offering. This is why it is very important to have your home presenting its best on the day. The photos serve as a record of the visit as well as to show us if anything has changed in the homestay.
What happens after the visit?
As on your first visit, the home assessor will write a report for us. This will summarise your discussions with them and their feedback on the accommodation. They are mainly looking to see that the standard of accommodation has been maintained since the first visit. They are also looking to help resolve any concerns you might have about your role as host or about your relationship with HFS London.
The inspector will send in the new batch of photos and we will look at these to see if the homestay photo profile that we have for you needs to be updated.
If there is anything in the report that we feel needs to be discussed, one of our team will call you.
To sum up
The Homestay re-inspection visit is a really important part of your registration with us. Please, please, please do give it the time and energy that it warrants. This way we will be able to keep sending students to you!