A BRADFORD Council-run children’s home has been told to improve by Ofsted. 

Inspectors from the education watchdog visited the Bradford district home, which the Telegraph & Argus is not naming in order to protect the children living there, last month.

A report from that inspection says: “There has been a high level of staff sickness and staff vacancies over many months. A child moving to the home on a full-time basis has added extra pressure to the already depleted staff team. 

“Some of the children and young people have limited communication and respond better to well-established staff team members who know them well. The use of a number of temporary staff has resulted in a lack of continuity of care for the children and young people.”

It also says there is “inconsistency” in the activities available to the children and young people in the home.

“Some do not go out often, whereas others go on holiday,” the report says. 

“One child had his weekly visit to the youth club cancelled due to staff shortages. One young person wrote ‘I’m bored as I stay in my bedroom and I am on a week holiday. Nothing to do as no activity planner. I want to have a day out and I haven’t been out in a while’.”

The report also raises concern about repairs, saying they are not completed in a timely way. 

“One young person’s bedroom smells of urine due to damage to the flooring as a result of his enuresis problem,” says the report. 

“This is an ongoing issue as it was initially raised as a complaint by a parent. This does not provide children and young people with a message that they are valued.”

Inspectors also say a lack of ‘independence work’ is carried out with the young people, for example teaching them how to shop or prepare a meal.

The report says some display “self-injurious and self-harming behaviours”.

 “For one young person, the number of self-harming incidents has increased,” says the report.

“This is due to their anxiety and lack of certainty about the move to their adult home.”

It also highlights that one young person has lived at the home “for many years without a full assessment of their cognitive and developmental ability”, leaving staff without the knowledge of how best to meet their communication, social and emotional needs.

Staff morale is said to be low, but the report says: “The managers’ and staff team’s commitment to the children and young people is laudable. It is a close-knit staff team.”

Mark Douglas, Strategic Director for Children’s Services, said: “We accept Ofsted’s findings in this report. We know we need to improve and are working hard to address the issues they have raised.

The report does highlight the manager and staff team’s commitment to the children and young people in the home, but staff challenges have meant that we have not provided services to young people that are good enough.

"Since the inspection we have recruited to all the staff vacancies at the home, and have made sure young people now have access to good quality activities.”