Great Britain

Lancashire children's home residents not "protected from harm"

The Mountwood Academy site near Longridge
The Mountwood Academy site near Longridge

A private Lancashire children’s home for youngsters with special needs has once again failed to meet required safety and care standards, according to a new report.

The report revealed the home at Mountwood Academy, near Longridge, had still not met demands for improvement set by the Government inspection service Ofsted.

The Academy, run by Roc Northwest Ltd provides accommodation and education for youngsters on the autistic spectrum. The children’s home was judged as requiring improvement to be good at a full inspection in April.

After a monitoring inspection in August compliance notices were issued and the Academy was ordered to reduce its number of residents to a maximum of 10 children.

Inspectors returned on September 24 and concluded in a report published just days ago : “The provider has continued to fail to ensure that children are protected from harm and that risks to children’s safety and well-being are not managed effectively.

“Furthermore, evidence was found to demonstrate that managers do not have the ability to monitor safety and quality across the homes sufficiently. In addition the provider has consistently failed to operate the home in accordance with the regulations.”

Inspectors noted that factual inaccuracies were identified in some examples of updated risk assessments and some risk management plans lacked clear guidance. It found unsafe food hygiene practices and an unsafe living environment for one child.

One compliance demand – reducing the number of physical interventions – had been met. This was in part, said inspectors, due to a reduction numbers of children living at the home. But remaining children had had fewer incidents and this, said inspectors, “indicates some improvement in terms of how staff support children when they are in distress”.

A Roc Northwest spokesperson said: “We remain fully committed to the Mountwood service, to improving standards further and to regaining the outstanding rating that the service has achieved historically. Last month, Mountwood underwent another Ofsted monitoring visit and the feedback was positive, acknowledging the progress made in key areas. A temporary moratorium on admissions that had been placed on Mountwood has now been lifted."

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