Latest Public Sector News

25.10.18

Council-run children’s home for most vulnerable found to have 'serious and widespread failures'

A children’s home run by Suffolk County Council was found to have “serious and widespread failures,” meaning vulnerable children were not protected, an Ofsted report has found.

An inspection on the children’s home – which cares for children aged between eight and 13 who may have experienced neglect, emotional abuse or traumatic experiences which have left them vulnerable – was rated ‘inadequate’ in all aspects.

Ofsted reported “unsafe” behavioural management techniques, such as physically moving children up the stairs and, in one instance, holding a door handle shut to contain a child’s aggressive behaviour.

“Significant shortfalls” in behavioural management and a failure in the oversight and external monitoring of the practice all added to a ruling of the home as ‘inadequate.’

The children’s home, which cannot be named for legal reasons, is the second home for children who have experienced neglect, trauma or abuse run by Suffolk County Council to be given an ‘inadequate’ rating.

Suffolk County Council said it was not a systemic issue with the way it runs its children’s homes, but said it takes the findings of the report extremely seriously.

Allan Cadzow, service director for children and young people, said: “We have taken immediate action to end the practice Ofsted identified and are acting swiftly on the recommendations made.

“Senior managers will be ensuring all necessary action is taken to ensure the children’s home returns to its previous status of ‘good’ as soon as possible.”

Ofsted said in the report that some of the children had indeed had positive experiences, and feedback from families was generally positive, but this is “seriously undermined” by the shortfalls in the help and protection the children received and by the management of the home.

It said that the unsafe behaviour management techniques breached regulations and “do not respect children’s rights and dignity.”

Ofsted has given the children’s home a list of statutory requirements to improve its standards by next month.

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