Inspection watchdog OFSTED has announced it is taking further "compliance action" against a children's home in rural Lancashire.
The home, part of the former Mountwood Academy site, on Ward Green Lane, Ribchester, serves young people with special needs.
Some of the young residents were removed from the home on OFSTED's orders in 2019.
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When the home was last inspected for a monitoring visit on April 26 there were three young people in residence.
OFSTED was already taking compliance action against the privately run home, which it lists as run by ROC Northwest Limited, on issues relating to to leadership and management.
In its latest report OFSTED raises concerns that there has been no registered manager at the home since last September.
It noted: "This does not support consistent leadership or the safe, effective management of the service. Furthermore, the failure to propose a registered manager means that Ofsted is unable to ascertain the fitness and suitability of the person in charge of the day-to-day running of the home. This does not promote young people’s safety, wellbeing or good progress. Ofsted is taking further compliance action in relation to this matter."
The home can provide care and accommodation for up to 10 children across five units who may have a disability or behavioural needs. But at the time of OFSTED's visit just one unit was in use.
The April visit followed an earlier monitoring visit in March "to assess action taken to meet the requirements of a compliance notice issued to the home on 25 March 2021, in relation to leadership and management."
The March visit was prompted by "information received, which indicated potential breaches of regulation."
But there was some positive progress with Ofsted noting that the three residents: "continue to make good progress in a number of areas. Children are growing in confidence, developing positive relationships with staff and attending education regularly.There has been a reduction of significant incidents, although these do continue to occur. "
The report said: "The recording of incidents, such as physical restraints, has improved. In addition, managers are monitoring incidents more effectively and carrying out meaningful reflection with both children and staff."
Staff had been provided with training and additional monitoring had been organised by the providers, including unannounced, out-of-hours visits and some detailed audits. Ofsted noted: "This helps to ensure that areas requiring improvement are identified and can therefore be addressed. Additional monitoring also assists managers to identify poor or unsafe practice."
The report noted it was intended the additional training "will assist staff to develop their understanding of children’s behaviours and how to respond to these in a helpful way." A staff member had spoken positively about training received "commenting that it had helped to enhance her practice."
It was in November 2019 that the Post reported that young residents had been removed from the Mountwood home at short notice following numerous visits by Ofsted..
In a critical report Ofsted had revealed that several residents had been harmed both physically and emotionally at the children’s home. While the Mountwood Academy school was judged to be “good”, in April 2019 the on-site residential children’s home for young people with autistic spectrum conditions was rated as “requires improvement to be good”.
Formerly the the Academy provided care and accommodation for up to 29 children with disabilities and/or behavioural needs.
In February 2020 an interim judgement said the home had "improved effectiveness".
When contacted ROC North West declined to comment but advised the company no longer runs the home, directing enquiries to parent company CareTech. CareTech is the parent company of both ROC Northwest and Cambian.
Jeremy Wiles of the Cambian Group said: "Cambian run the home, who also run 12 specialist schools and colleges for young people with autism. The home is currently in transition of ownership from ROC to Cambian."
"We need to progress the appointment of a Registered Manager, this will allow the transition of the home from ROC to Cambian. This is in progress, and we hope to make this appointment shortly and we can the complete the registration process. The home is being supported by the registered manager from one of our Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ schools in the interim. The school is now called Cambian Brook View School, it currently supports seven students. The home will be called Brook View House and currently has two resident children, both who attend Cambian Brook View School."
For our November 2019 report on Mountwood see here .
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