Children and Families

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Children and Families

    Children’s Services Sub-Committee

    7 December 1998 Children’s Home Inspection Report: The Rowans

    Report of the Director of Social Services.

    1.0 Purpose of Report

    To draw to Members attention the report of the Inspector,

    Regulation, Review and Quality Assurance on the inspection of ththThe Rowans Community Home, carried out 11 and 12 August


    2.0 Background

    2.1 Members will be aware that it is the policy of the authority

    that Executive Summaries and the recommendations of

    Inspectors on each annual inspection of community homes

    will be tabled, together with the lay assessors report, at the

    Children’s Sub-Committee.

    2.2 A full copy of the report is available in the Members library.

    2.3 The response of the District Manager is attached to this


    3.0 Recommendations

    It is recommended that Members note this report, the

    recommendations therein and the plans outlined by Managers.

    For further information on this report please contact: Inspection Name: Andy Davey, Manager (Child Care),

    Report: Regulation, Review and Quality


     Telephone: 01743 253819 Management Name: Michael Bradley, District Manager,

    Response Children and Families

     Telephone: 01743 232398



    Inspection Visit Report Completed Under: The Children Act 1989 Name and Address of Establishment: The Rowans Status: Local Authority Children’s Home Stated Aims and Objectives: To look after young people accommodated by, or in the

    care of, the Local Authority Age Range: 11 - 18 years of age Location: Meole Brace, Shrewsbury Name of Officer in Charge: Mr D Pitchford Other Responsible Bodies: Shropshire County Council

    Social Services Department Date and Time of Inspection: 11 & 12 August 1998 Visiting Inspector: Deborah Holland Purpose of Visit: Annual Review Circulation of Report: Officer in Charge

    District Manager

    Head of Operations

     copy of summary report to:

    Director of Social Services

    Children’s Services Sub-committee Date Report Sent Out:

    Date of Next Inspection: within 6 months


    Summary Report on: The Rowans, Shrewsbury

    The Rowans is a Local Authority Children’s home owned by Shropshire County Council and

    managed by the Social Services Department. It was established in 1992. The home has the capacity

    to accommodate five young people.

    In 1997 a satellite establishment was established at The Goldings, in an isolated rural spot some six

    miles from Shrewsbury. This was staffed by workers from the Rowans and accommodated one young

    person successfully. It was recognised that in order to meet this young person’s needs to access the

    community more and start to manage themselves in social contacts, a move nearer to Shrewsbury was

    needed. In 1998, a new satellite unit in the Radbrook area has been established, again

    accommodating this young man and managed and staffed from the Rowans.

    The Rowans has five single rooms on the first floor. There is an office and sleeping in room on this

    floor. On the ground floor there is ample communal living and dining area and a well equipped

    kitchen and laundry. The standard of accommodation is good, and decoration is organised and

    carried out by residential social work staff. The environmental health officer has recommended that

    re-tiling is carried out in the kitchen, although generally the requirements of statutory agencies are

    met. Room sizes do not meet local authority requirements, and one child particularly is unhappy with

    the space available to them. It is strongly recommended that radiator safety is addressed, particularly

    where radiators are immediately against children’s beds. It has been reported by visiting councillors

    for some time that replacement windows are needed, and the undesirability of staff and children

    sharing bath/shower facilities.

    The home’s statement of purpose and function has been updated appropriately. This now reflects the

    home’s philosophy, staffing and services provided. Criteria for admission have been clarified, which


    is welcomed. Generally record keeping is well maintained, with all policies, procedures and logs required by statute organised and regularly updated.

    The staff group at The Rowans is well established and experienced, with only a couple of new appointments within the last couple of years. A new Deputy Officer in Charge was appointed early in 1998. Sickness and vacant posts has lead to shortages which have been difficult to deal with; at one point the officer in charge and assistant officer in charge were off at a time when the new deputy had only been briefly in post. Although it has proved possible to “muddle through”, some things have suffered, for instance two of the children have missed out on a holiday this summer due to staffing difficulties.

    Recruitment practice, induction (under development) and on-going training is now in hand. It is hoped that all residential social workers will achieve NVQ Level III. It has been a disappointment to the staff group that the newly appointed deputy, recruited partly on the basis of the NVQ assessment skills she possesses, is now not being directly involved in this process, the work being taken on by CAIS.

    Reports have been requested from placing social workers as well as schools, police and general practitioners. General practitioners and police have voiced no concerns within their feedback and social workers are positive about the care and support offered to the young people placed at the home, particularly about the approach of the staff group. It appeared at inspection that the young people were making progress (although most had been accommodated at the home much longer than originally planned or anticipated) and were cared for appropriately.

    At this inspection, thirteen of the seventeen minimum standards are met. All but two of the quality standards are met. Management of the home and the Social Services Department are asked to acknowledge the recommendations made and to respond appropriately. At this annual review, the inspector was accompanied by a lay assessor whose report is attached to this.

    Date of Inspection: 11 & 12 August 1998

    Scheduled date for next Inspection:



    Standard 5 Accommodation and Resources

    Minimum standards

    Services must provide accommodation, space, furnishing and equipment as outlined in regulations

    and as required by local authority guidelines

    A number of bedrooms at the Rowans do not provide sufficient usable space

    Windows are in need of replacement

    Staff and children should not have to use the same bath/shower facilities

    The home must meet required health and safety standards. Radiator safety should be addressed as a

    matter of urgency, particularly where beds are against unguarded radiators

    Standard 6 Staffing

    Quality standard

    The home should be able to cover for staff absences so that the service to the children/young people is

    not affected

    Standard 7 Health and Medication Minimum standards

    Health profiles should be completed on admission and reviewed regularly. Care must be taken to

    ensure that actions highlighted in LAC documentation and plans for the child are carried out

    Medicines should be administered and recorded in accordance with Regulation 9 of the Children’s

    Homes Regulations and Shropshire’s guidance. Refusals or omissions of prescribed medication

    should be recorded

    Standard 8 Community links and activities

    Quality standard

    Children should be able to go on outings and holidays. Two of the children are not having a summer

    holiday because of staffing difficulties

    Standard 15 Catering

    Minimum standard

    Food must be prepared in an environment which satisfies the standards of relevant statutory agencies.

    Food storage has been addressed; tiling to the kitchen wall requires replacement

    Standard 16 Health and Safety Minimum standard

    The home must meet the requirements of the environmental health officer


    Response to Draft Registration and Inspection Report.

    The Rowans, Shropshire Social Service Children’s Home,

    46 Upper Road, Shrewsbury Shropshire.

    thth11 and 12 of August 1998

    Inspectors Summary.

    It was acknowledged that Bedroom sizes do not meet Local Authority requirements. However , the

    current arrangements allows for each young person to have their own individual room.

    Lay Assessors Report

    The Lay Assessor made reference to the non provision of an annual holiday for the young people

    present at The Rowans. Unfortunately this has been due to reduced staffing levels, the outcome being

    the cancellation of the two booked holidays. 15

    The Lay Assessor makes reference to the limited amount. of literature available for the young peoples

    use. As the study/games room was being decorated at the time of the inspection, the considerable

    range of learning materials, including literature, were all in storage.

    Response To Summary of Recommendations.

    1) Building and Maintenance The Property and Planning Department are aware of the need to replace the windows of The Rowans.

    They are also aware of the need for an extra showering and bathing facility, therefore giving the

    young people and the staff separate facilities.

    The Property and Planning Department are aware of the need for radiator covers to be installed in all

    of the young peoples bedrooms.

    2) Staffing

    The staffing situation has now been considerably eased due to a vacant post being recently filled, as of th16 September 1998. When difficulties do arise in covering the rota, Every effort is made by the

    management and the staff team to ensure a continuation of quality care. This is achieved via a

    flexible approach by all staff present, and is supported by dedicated and equally flexible relief staff. If

    there is a need for agency staff, Senior Staff request the deployment of agency workers who are known

    by themselves and the young people present.

    3) Health and Medication

    Health issues are high on the agenda at the Rowans and all staff are aware of the need for completed

    LAC forms on admission of a young person to this placement.

    New guidance on administration of medicines has now been introduced.

    4) Community Links and Activities The management of the Rowans will make every effort to ensure that cancellation of holidays will not

    arise due to staffing difficulties.

    5) Other Issues

    Standard 16.5 fire drills: Names of staff and initials of young people are now recorded after fire drills,

    this brings The Rowans in line with policy. on this issue.

    Standard 16.7: Property and planning are aware of the need for new tiling in the kitchen and have

    assured Management at The Rowans that this work will be completed as soon as possible.




    12TH & 13TH AUGUST 1998

    The Rowans is a detached property on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, registered for five children aged twelve to sixteen years. Currently, four children live there. These children come from situations where foster care has broken down. This is the only residential home run by the Local Authority and is a part of the Fan-lily and Children's Division of Social Services. The children are nurtured and a positive attitude towards their self-esteem is developed. Efforts are made to try and overcome the behavioural problems which have led to the foster care break-down and permanent exclusion from school. Establishing routines and structure, instilling a sense of responsibility for their own actions is a priority. This is accomplished by good quality care with effective role modelling.

    The atmosphere is welcoming with good d6cor throughout. 'The children choose the colour for their own rooms. The bedrooms are of varying sizes whilst most are adequate, one child did have a particularly small room. The kitchen, dining room and two lounges offered good space for various activities with a six-foot snooker table, computer games and board games available. There was a grassed area outside for active pursuits.

    The children are encouraged to join in with activities that interest them, with staff offering support when necessary. However, due to staffing problems, there was no summer holiday booked this year. There have been outings to places such as Alton Towers which had been enjoyed.

    Whenever possible, the children are integrated into mainstream education and if not attending school they have home tuition. There -is a limited range of literature available but an encyclopaedia is available on the computer,

    There was an interesting range of food on offer for the menu, which varies weekly. Older children are encouraged to budget and cook their own food for a week to improve life skills.

    Along with The Rowans, there is a separate satellite home for one resident who has particular problems with sharing accommodation. This is a modern house with good facilities, which offered an


opportunity for the young person to adjust to catering for themselves with support. A carer always

    accompanies this individual to ensure good support.

    It was a pleasure to accompany Mrs Deb Holland on her inspection which was carried out in a

    sensitive and professional way. The staff were particularly caring and obviously had intimate

    knowledge of the residents' problems and requirements, which they persevered in solving. They were

    all very hospitable during our visit and readily gave their time to talk about their work.

    Signed Date


    C:\COMMIS\Committee Report 7 December 1998.doc



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