Insects in beds and staffing concerns at family centre in Wigan

Inspectors visited a residential family centre after complaints that beds were infested with insects and staff were working long shifts.

Saturday, 15th May 2021, 4:55 am

Three complaints were made to Ofsted in a short period of time about Foundations Wigan, a centre in Hindley which accommodates up to six families for assessments to help local authorities and courts make decisions about the welfare of children.

Many concerns related to staffing, including the number of employees, long shifts without sufficient breaks, the availability of the manager when on call and the “management culture”.

There were also complaints about sleeping arrangements for staff and residents, which related to insect infestations in the beds.

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Up to six families can stay at the centre at once. Generic picture.

The manager told inspectors that while there had been an infestation, a pest control agency had made several visits and treated it successfully.

The centre was said to be “clean and appropriately furnished”.

Inspectors found a “high number” of staff had recently left, including several dismissals.

Their report said: “Staff spoken to as part of this inspection reported having to work excessively long hours. They said they were not given a choice in this, that the manager put them on the rota and they were expected to do their shifts.”

Managers brought in other staff, but residents were concerned they did not know them.

Residents said they did not have a positive relationship with the manager, while staff said they did not feel well supported and there were occasions when the manager could not be contacted while on-call.

Ofsted identified a “serious” incident where staff had not followed management instructions about observing basic care tasks for one family.

While managers took action to address the issue with staff, the disciplinary process was done without the designated officer being told and Ofsted was not notified.

In another incident, a staff member felt “insufficiently experienced” to deal with a safeguarding issue and got telephone advice from the on-call manager, but this was not in records.

Ofsted issued two compliance notices for Progressive Care, the company responsible for the home, and made several requirements.

They included making sure there were enough staff and that incidents of serious staff misconduct were referred to the designated officer.

A recommendation was made that the manager should “exercise effective leadership”.

The centre was rated as “good” in its last full inspection, which was in 2018.

A spokesman for Progressive Care said: “Senior managers had already become aware of certain staffing issues at Foundations Wigan prior to the inspection by Ofsted and had already commenced positive measures to address the issues at the time of the Ofsted inspection.

“These measures have continued following the inspection. We have remained in contact with Ofsted during this process and we are confident that the issues have been fully addressed.”

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