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County council under scrutiny after second Suffolk children's home rated inadequate by Ofsted

By Jason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich. (5036407)
Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich. (5036407)

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.

The home, which cannot be named for legal reasons, was inspected by the education watchdog on October 3, when 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 have the poorest rating.

The other three are currently rated as 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 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 report 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 staff had resorted to holding bedroom doors closed to contain some children’s 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 seems 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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