Nottinghamshire County Council wanted to close Southwell's Minster View children's home for the past two years, says council employee
Reassurances have been made about the future of a children’s home after further concerns were raised.
Minster View, Southwell, is currently closed amid concerns over the quality of care provided to children with complex needs and learning disabilities.
Nottinghamshire County Council has consistently stressed it is only a temporary measure, but this has been questioned by a county council staff member.
They said: “Minster View is closing because those in Nottinghamshire County Council want it to close and have wanted this for the past two years.”
The employee, who wants to remain anonymous, said it was extreme to temporarily close the home because of an ‘emerging picture that recent practice had not always been of the highest quality’, particularly just weeks after an Ofsted inspection that resulted in a good rating.
The Ofsted report stated children were well cared for, children were safe, and that leaders and managers were exercising strong leadership, concluding: “We did not identify any serious or widespread concerns in relations to the care or protection of children at this assurance visit.”
Despite this, the employee said some staff members had been suspended.
The staff member said: “It seems senior managers are moving vulnerable children without valid reasons. These are children with additional needs such as insecure attachments, various medical conditions and autism, who often struggle with social interactions, communication and language.
“The council ripped these children from their secure settled homes without any real transition, let alone the extended transitions children with the difficulties listed above, would need to move to another home. All because ‘there is an emerging picture that recent practice had not always been of the highest quality.’”
They added funds should have been spent on further staff training and cover, sparing the children the trauma of being moved away from their familiar environment.
“Are all children removed from all children’s residential homes when staff are required to take further training?” they questioned.
“Children’s services should be working to prevent families from going into crises, not working to ensure families are pushed into one.”
The staff member said the council was aware of serious concerns raised within Minster View over rapid and inappropriate changes.
The council issued the following statement: “On January 18, the Advertiser printed the statement below from Steve Edwards, the council’s service director for youth, families and social work:
'Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that we fully recognise this is a difficult situation for the children and families at Minster View. The decision to temporarily close the home is not one we have taken lightly.
‘We have sincerely apologised to parents for any distress caused. We have been working closely with parents and will continue to work with them while Minster View is temporarily closed.
‘We want to do our utmost to reassure parents and will be offering to meet again with them in the near future so that they can be sure they are being listened to.
‘We will not comment further publicly regarding individual children or individual staff, other than to reassure the public that all concerns are taken seriously and appropriate action has and will continue to be taken in the best interests of the children.’
“That statement still stands, Nottinghamshire County Council will not be making any further comment other than to continue to reassure the public all concerns are taken seriously and appropriate action has and will continue to be taken in the best interests of children and to confirm that the closure of Minster View is temporary.”