Children’s home relied on police to deal with ‘challenging behaviour’, say inspectors
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Serious and widespread failures have been identified following Ofsted inspections at three children’s homes in Suffolk, with issues ranging from wardrobes tied together with string to police intervention needed to manage behaviour.
One of the homes was rated as inadequate and the other two were deemed to require improvement or inadequate.
The homes are all operated by private companies, with Suffolk County Council only directly managing five of the 25 homes in the county.
Inspectors visited one of the homes, run by Inroads Essex Limited, at the end of October and found it to be inadequate in all areas.
Their report states: "Children are not protected or their welfare is not promoted or safeguarded".
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During their visit they found a child's wardrobe was tied together with string, while another room and the surrounding corridor smelled strongly of urine.
A spokesman for Inroads Essex Limited said: "We have a comprehensive action plan which will address all of the recommendations that have been requested of us."
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Inspectors visiting a home run by Compass Children's Homes was rated as requiring improvement after inspectors raised concerns about staff who were not always able to deal with behaviour.
On occasion, the report noted, staff "relied on police intervention" to manage challenging behaviour.
Of the six children placed at the home since its opening, half have been moved on elsewhere.
A spokesman for Compass said: "Compass is committed to providing high-quality and closely supervised residential care for young people needing a stable 'home from home' environment.
"We have taken immediate action on the points raised, including introducing an improved recruitment process, delivering a robust programme of behaviour support training for all staff and conducting a review of policies to improve the way in which children are helped and protected.
"While the vast majority of our homes are rated 'Good' or 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, making Compass one of the top independent care providers, we are determined to ensure continuous improvement in each and every home."
A third home, run by Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School Limited, was deemed to have improved since its previous inspection, moving from inadequate to requiring improvement.
Despite this inspectors noted that concerns remained over medicine provision.
Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School Limited declined to comment.