Young people’s care and support is good says Ofsted

Posted on: 9 December 2015

Young people say they feel safe and that they see the home as a safe haven, inspectors visiting a secure young people’s unit in Exeter have found.

The routine visit by Ofsted to Devon County Council’s Atkinson service, one of seven secure welfare units in the country for young people, found the care and support given to young people to be good.

Inspectors say care staff have a good understanding of young people and their individual needs. And that residents have formed trusting relationships with the adults who care for them.

A particular strength of this home, Inspectors say, is the management of the young people’s transitions coming into and leaving the home.

Good management oversight ensures that young people’s needs are reviewed and transitions prepared which are in their best interest, they say.

The Atkinson Unit takes vulnerable young people who are at risk to themselves or others or have a history of absconding from children’s homes, and helps them return to having a positive lifestyle within the community.

Inspectors visiting last month said:

Young people at the Atkinson live in a welcoming and comfortable home.

Staff receive ongoing and varied training, and they have the knowledge and skills to carry out their roles effectively.

And that staff levels mean that young people’s safety can be ensured, and close support and supervision is provided.

Inspectors also praised the home’s educational provision.

Most young people make good gains in learning, particularly given their often disrupted educational backgrounds, say Inspectors.

Young people are doing well in achieving their personal learning targets and qualifications appropriate to their level of ability.

And work experience continues to provide young people with good opportunities to extend their knowledge and interest about future career or training options.

Inspectors found however that record keeping needs to be improved.

They said that information in young people’s care plans is too generic and that targets are not specific enough.

And that while young people, social workers, staff and parents are positive about progress young people are making, the recording of this success is not consistent.

Inspectors acknowledged that the home is undergoing a period of transition within its management team, and concluded that while managers are aware of areas that need improving and have plans in place to address these, they have not yet had time to be wholly effective.

Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for children’s services, said:

“Once again, the home has achieved a good inspection from Ofsted. We’re not complacent however and we know that we’ve got some improvements to make to the way the service works.

“I’m pleased that these improvements are not preventing the young people from receiving the care and support they need, and that the service is doing well in helping young people return to the community as soon and as safely as possible.”

Local County Councillor Emma Morse, who is also a member of the Northbrook Managers and the Atkinson Education Board, said:

“I know the dedication that the staff of both the school and the home give to the young people in their care. I am thrilled with the good Ofsted report and look forward to the unit’s continued success.”

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