Children's home fails Ofsted inspection

Major concerns have been raised about the safety and wellbeing of children living at a care home in Shropshire.

Ofsted inspectors visited the home, the exact location of which is not revealed, and found that facilities were not adequate for the 12 children that lived there.

Run by Amberleigh Care Ltd, the home was inspected in January but the report has only been made public this week.

Inspectors rated it as 'inadequate' and on their visit found that the children were unable to access their own bedrooms freely. Staff had to unlock the doors for them and on exiting they had to ring a bell to alert staff to the fact that they were returning downstairs.

There were no communal toilet facilities downstairs which meant that the children were unable to access the toilet without staff's permission.

Records of complaint were not kept and it was not clear what action had been taken should a complaint be made.

Inspectors found that the home used the Good Lives Model but both managers and staff had insufficient knowledge, understanding or training to deliver the model effectively.

Records of house meetings, where issues including improvements to the decor of the home had been raised, were not kept which led to the children feeling undervalued. It was also unclear as to how the children contributed to the day-to-day running of the home.

The report added: "Staff recruitment processes are poor and recruitment checks do not protect young people from unsuitable individuals working in the home. Some staff have started work at the home without adequate reference checks being carried out. Managers have failed to follow up concerning information contained in other recruitment checks fully. During the inspection, the manager showed a lack of awareness about her own responsibilities regarding the recruitment of staff."

Restraint records were not signed off in a 'timely way' which meant that the manager could not be assured that the restraint practice was proportionate and safe.

But inspectors did find that the number of times a child had gone missing from the home had decreased and incidents of bullying were dealt with quickly. However they found that staff did not respond to poor behaviour appropriately.

Managers at the care home have now been told they must improve in a number of areas by the end of the month.

No one was available from Amberleigh Care Ltd for comment.

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