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‘Devastating report’ reveals second ‘inadequate’ children’s home run by Suffolk County Council

PUBLISHED: 08:58 24 October 2018

Suffolk County Council said it had strengthened its oversight at its children's homes Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk County Council said it had strengthened its oversight at its children's homes Picture: ARCHANT

Fresh questions have been raised over Suffolk County Council’s management of vulnerable children’s homes as another has received an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating – the second home in eight weeks.

Jack Abbott said he had lost confidence in the council's ability to turn the situation around Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILJack Abbott said he had lost confidence in the council's ability to turn the situation around Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

The home, which cannot be named for legal reasons, was inspected by the education watchdog on October 3, where it was given the lowest rating in all areas.

It comes just weeks after another home, also for children who had experienced neglect, trauma or abuse, was given an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted, meaning two of the council’s five children’s homes now have the poorest rating.

The other three currently remain ‘good’.

But Suffolk County Council said it was not a systemic issue with the way it was running the homes.

Allan Cadzow, service director for children and young people at the county council, said: “We take the findings of the report extremely seriously.

“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.”

He added: “The other three children’s homes are rated ‘good’, however we have strengthened our oversight of all children’s homes to ensure any and all issues are picked up and remedied.”

The latest Ofsted said that behaviour management techniques were unsafe and “do not respect children’s rights and dignity”.

The report continued that there had been a “significant increase” in the number of physical interventions needed and that staff had resorted to holding bedroom door handles closed to contain some childrens’ aggressive behaviour.

Labour education spokesman Jack Abbott said: “I am deeply concerned – this is the second Suffolk County Council children’s home to receive an inadequate rating in recent months with this inspection citing; ‘serious and widespread failures that mean children are not protected and their welfare is not safeguarded’.

“This is a devastating report and the brutal truth is that, as the corporate parent of these vulnerable children, Suffolk County Council is ultimately responsible for their neglect.

“This Conservative administration seem beset by failure, whether it is in children’s homes, home care or even maintaining our roads, yet no cabinet member ever resigns - I wonder if any of them will step forward, apologise and take personal responsibility this time.

“To receive two reports of this nature within just a few months shows that something is systemically wrong and I have lost all confidence that the council is willing or able to turn this terrible situation around.”

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