Dirty bedrooms, insects at the windows, stained walls and common rooms ‘stark and institutional’ uncovered by Ofsted at Wisbech children’s home
- Credit: Archant
Dirty bedroom floors, stained walls, insects, rubbish littering bathroom floors, stained and dirty toilets with one broken away from the wall form part of a damning Ofsted report into a Wisbech children’s home.
The Cambian run home is registered for up to 16 children who have ongoing mental health needs and challenging behaviours.
It got an inadequate rating from Ofsted across all areas
Ofsted reports one incident where a child "rated at the highest level of risk" was left alone "in the community and at significant risk".
Allegations against staff were not investigated "with enough professional curiosity or urgency" but "when concerns about potential radicalisation have arisen, the manager has taken appropriate action".
Overall Ofsted found "significant shortfalls" in management monitoring and although feedback from outside professional was consistently positive, the situation remains inadequate.
"Because of the concerns identified throughout this inspection, Ofsted is likely to take further enforcement action," it concludes.
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Two Ofsted inspectors visited over three days in June and found shortfalls in management, staffing and in the building.
"These shortfalls have put children at serious risk of harm," they concluded. "A history of poor inspection outcomes and repeated regulatory breaches relating to staffing demonstrate a lack of capacity to improve the care provided and to ensure children's safety".
Ofsted says despite staffing issues, Cambian has taken in new children but the numbers of new staff working there means there are times when they have to deal with situations for which they are not experienced.
The home is dirty and a health risk and the communal rooms "stark and institutional" and Ofsted say the general state of the home "compromises" any possibility of creating a homely environment.
Jeremy Wiles, group business development director for Cambian, said: "We take the findings of this inspection very seriously, and have a clear action plan to return the home to the standard that we expect.
"One of the key findings relates to a matter that we self-reported to Ofsted. We are pleased that since the inspection several local authorities have conducted their own quality assurance visits, they all feel assured of the safety and well-being of their children, all children in the home at the time of the inspection remain."
Mr Wiles added: "We know what we need to address and we are committed to make the changes required".
Cambridgeshire County Council says the home is "not on our provider list" which means no children from anywhere in the county are sent there.
The council does send youngsters to a second children's home in March, which has also received an inadequate rating by Ofsted, but have suspended referrals pending improvements.
A spokesman said: "The majority of children in the care of Cambridgeshire County Council are in foster care - but for a small number a residential setting is more appropriate.
The March home is run by Break, a charity which runs a number of residential homes across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, and is one of a number of providers used by the county council to referrals for children who require this type of placement.
The spokesman said new placements at March were suspended once the Ofsted report was notified to them.
The spokesman said: "Following the recent Ofsted inspection (June 2019) we were informed that a four-bedroom children's residential home in March, managed by Break, was judged as 'inadequate'. We immediately suspended any new placements here until this situation changes.
"We are working closely with Break to ensure that they make the required improvements to meet the standards we expect and to improve their Ofsted judgement within the required timeframe, and we are confident that they will do this.
"Cambian Childcare Ltd is not on our provider list - and so we place no children in their residential homes."
Two recent reviews of working for Cambian at Wisbech provide contrasting views of the company.
The website shares recruitment experiences: one says "staffing levels are ridiculously small and often don't get breaks when doing a 12 hour shift.
"Management often don't support for staff and the support team rarely work as a team and often there is a lot of bickering between teams and bonuses are often promised but never get received."
But a second view from someone still working there says Cambian offered "the best job I have had. I take pride in working with such a dedicated team; even after a hard shift I still have the enthusiasm to return."