A third of children’s homes in the east of England have been branded “inadequate” by Ofsted.
Out of the 194 children’s homes in the region, 54 of them either were given this rating or were told they “required improvement” by inspectors. There has been no change over the past three years, the government regulators claimed.
The two ratings were given to some homes in which the “central heating was not working during the winter” and to others which had “a shortage of food”. Inspectors also reported “serious concerns about bullying” in some of the region’s homes and, in one of them, there was allegedly “no child protection or fire training”.
A former children’s home manager from Norfolk told the BBC that it was “impossible to get enough staff” and that the staff they already had were “under-paid [and] over-worked”.
Jonathan Stanley is the chief executive of the Independent Children’s Homes Association. He took issue with Ofsted’s findings and questioned the accuracy of the inspectors’ assessments.
Inspections of children’s homes “receive high levels of challenge and complaint as to [their] accuracy”, he claimed.
Ofsted rejected Mr Stanley’s suggestion as “entirely wrong and inaccurate”. A spokesman for the regulating body said there had been only 97 complaints about inaccurate inspections between 2013 and 2014. This only accounted for two per cent “of the 5,989 social care inspections that were carried out under the social care remit”.