Children’s homes to close

Somerset County Council today announced it was taking decisive action to start the process of closing two of its children’s homes due to poor management, sub-standard care and concerns over safeguarding.

Staff and residents at the two homes – West End Cottage at Chedzoy and Appledore near West Pennard – were told of the closures on Thursday. The homes currently have a combined total of just five residents who will all be moved to new accommodation over the next few weeks.

“We’ve had concerns about the care offered to our young residents and have decided to act quickly in their best interests,” said Pat Flaherty, Chief Executive of Somerset County Council.

“We have commissioned our own report into safeguarding at one of the homes and it has raised considerable concerns for us, to such an extent that coupled with question marks over management and the level of care we are providing, that the right decision is to close it and the other home. In particular, the standard of care was disappointingly low in some areas, and the management was not robust enough to understand that and deal with it.

“I appreciate this will cause some disruption to the young residents – and also to our staff – but we have tried to put things right, it has not worked so we will take decisive action and intend to close the homes as soon as we have fulfilled our obligations to engage and consult with all those involved.”

Both homes were subject to a recent Ofsted inspection although no formal result is likely for some weeks.

“We have carried out our own checks and investigation and we have seen some of the provisional evidence from Ofsted too. It all adds up to a need to close these homes and look after our young residents with the quality of care and support that they deserve,” said Mr Flaherty.