A member of staff enabled one child to buy a weapon from the internet at a North Yorkshire children’s home, an inspection discovered.
Ofsted said the home “failed to take appropriate action to protect children from the
potential risk of serious harm” in a highly critical report.
Inspectors visited the home, which cannot be named for legal reasons, in July – and released its findings this week.
The report says: “A member of staff enabled one child to buy a weapon from the internet. It is illegal for children to buy this type of weapon.
“The staff member did not take into account risk assessments for the child concerned. There was no consideration of the potential harm that could be caused to others, including the other child in the home, and no consideration with regard to the message that this action gave to the child about the use of weapons and breaking the law.
“The member of staff did not talk to colleagues or managers about their actions. This was a significant safeguarding event.
“Action taken by leaders and staff once the child had the weapon was ineffective.
Leaders and staff did not ensure the immediate safety of children or those working
in and living near the home.
“Leaders and staff did not give the child a clear message about the risks involved. This lack of rigour led to a potentially serious incident involving the child and a member of staff.”
The leaders’ response was also criticised for being poor and slow, and they “could not explain the rationale for their actions or those of the staff member.
“This means that the regulator cannot be confident that a different, but equally concerning, event could not happen again.”
Other criticisms in the report included:
- appointing a home manager who ‘did not meet regulatory requirements’
- staff who ‘do not consistently behave professionally’
- and that unprofessional behaviour leaves children still at risk.
Aside from the incident with the weapon, Ofsted said “the approach to managing risk is mostly effective”.
And that children are given the message “that staff care about them and want them to be safe”.
Inspectors rated the home inadequate and has set out a series of measures the home management must carry out urgently to meet statutory requirements.