On 2 May 2019, Ofsted suspended the registration of Livability’s Victoria Children’s Home in Poole. At the time, eleven children with significant special needs, including some with complex medical needs, were being accommodated and cared for at the Home.
The suspension followed a previous inspection in August 2018 where the service was rated as requiring improvement. An action plan was put in place to address the issues identified in the inspection report, however issues remained, particularly around dispensing of medicines and staffing arrangements. These were highlighted in an internal Livability audit report on 16 April 2019 and we developed a robust plan to make the improvements needed. However because of a higher than usual turnover of staff we were relying on short-term agency staff to fill the gaps in the rota as well as an interim management team of managers from within our adult services and following a medication incident on 27 April 2019 we recognised that we needed time to make the improvements necessary.
Based on this information, the outstanding challenges, and the time needed to make the necessary improvements we decided on 29 April 2019, prior to and independently of the Ofsted announcement, to close the Home. We believed significant improvements were still required. There were particular challenges in recruiting and retaining staff and we felt that taking this action was in the best interests of the children, who would be found alternative care and accommodation. The intention to close in a rapid but ‘controlled’ manner, was communicated to all relevant authorities responsible for placing children at Victoria Children’s Home. However, the timing of the Ofsted inspection was such that it led to an immediate suspension of registration on 2 May 2019 resulting in the immediate closure of the Home for at least three months and ahead of our forthcoming planned closure.
We are deeply sorry for the impact the closure has had on the children being cared for at Victoria Children’s Home and their families. The welfare of the children is Livability’s number one priority. We have worked with the relevant authorities to support the transition of the children into alternative accommodation and care to ensure they and their families continued to have their needs met at what we know has been an unsettling time for them. Livability has continued to provide ongoing support where this has been appropriate, for example, Victoria Education Centre has provided outreach work with a team which includes nurses, therapists, support staff and teachers to ensure where necessary children’s very specific needs continue to be met.
Livability is committed to delivering to the highest standards across all its services and we will act upon the findings and recommendations of the latest Ofsted report when it is published. Following the inspection we have acted quickly and have commissioned specialist external support to review and where necessary strengthen our recruitment, training and medicines management procedures across our services.
At present there are no plans to reopen the home. Because of the challenges that the home has faced for some time we are going to take the opportunity to assess next steps to find the best long-term solution about its future.
Livability’s Victoria Education Centre, which is a school that has been rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, is run as a separate entity to the Victoria Children’s Home on the same site and remains open to its students as usual.
[thrive_link color=’green’ link=’https://livability.org.uk/blog/frequently-asked-questions/’ target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=”]Please click here to read replies to questions which are often asked about this closure →[/thrive_link]