Friday 19 July 2013

Stockport Review Practise Of Private Children's Homes

Stockport undertook a review of Privately run Children's Homes within its borders earlier this year.
The full report can be found Here

1. Introduction 

1.1 At its 25 July 2012 meeting, the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny
Committee, following a discussion with Senior Officers and after
considering a number of options, agreed that the Council’s relationship
with Privately Run Children’s Homes be chosen as a topic for in-depth

1.2 It was agreed that the scope of the Review should be determined by
the Review Panel following the submission of further background
information by supporting Officers.

1.3 An overview of the background information presented to the Review
Panel is outlined below. In addition, the ‘Terms of Reference’ as
agreed by the Review Panel is also detailed below following this

Background Information 

1.4 The issues concerning the Council’s relationship with Privately Run
Children’s Homes is relevant for Stockport to consider as there are,
due to a number of factors, a larger number of Private Homes in the
borough per capita than in most other local authorities areas.

1.5 To support a wider understanding of the initial issues facing the Council
background information was provided for the Review Panel on;
• The Council’s relationship with local authority managed Children’s
• The number and make up of Children’s Homes in the borough
• The Council’s relationship with Privately Run Children’s Homes
• How Privately Run Children’s Homes are regulated and monitored

The Council’s relationship with the local authority managed Children’s Homes 

1.6 The Council wholly operates two Children’s Homes, namely Dial Park
and Broadfield. The Homes are properties which are owned by the
Council, the staff are permanent contracted employees of the Council,
managed solely by Council staff and assisted by corporate services
such as Human Resources etc.

1.7 Dial Park is a property in Offerton which can be home for up to 5
children of Secondary school age. The children living there are all
Looked After by Stockport and are from families that reside in the
borough. They attend all the universal services in the borough that any
other young person may have access to and each has an individual
care plan.

1.8 Dial Park admissions are all planned, there is no emergency provision.
As such, the responsible social worker forwards a range of information
about the child’s needs and the desired outcomes of the placement
which is then scrutinised by the senior team in the Home. They
determine whether or not they can meet the child’s needs and whether
the child would be able to live constructively with the residents already
in placement.

1.9 Dial Park benefits from a range of Council provisions such as;
• Psychology consultant time via the Education Psychology team
• Drug and alcohol misuse training via MOSAIC
• Young people’s mental health services via KITE
• Support from the Virtual School for Looked After Children
• Support from the Specialist Nurse for Looked After Children and
the Sex and relationship officers within the Council
• Support from the Children’s Rights Service
• Direct links to the child in care council

1.10 External inspection of Dial Park is conducted by Ofsted and over the
last 12 months they have been graded Good and Outstanding. The
latter grade made them one of a very small number of Local Authority
Homes to achieve such an accolade. Internal inspection of Dial Park is
carried out by Council Officers, namely the Independent Reviewing
Officers and by Elected Members. A group of 13 Elected Members are
on a rota of visits, 2 Members visiting each month, which take place
under Regulation 33 of the National minimum standards and address a
variety of issues from the fabric of the building through to the welfare of
staff and young people. Reports are sent to the Head of Social Care
who is under an obligation to respond immediately, addressing any
concerns that may arise.

1.11 Dial Park offers excellent value for money to the Council as the costs
per person per week are circa £1100, whereas in the private sector the
cost is on average £1900 per week.

1.12 Broadfield is currently a registered Children’s Home providing a home
for up to 5 young people over the age of 16 and enabling them to
develop independence skills so that they can live successfully in the
community. Often, children will move into Broadfield from Dial Park so
that an element of security, continuity and care is maintained.

1.13 Broadfield is located in Davenport and is currently subject to the same
inspection and checks as Dial Park, enjoys the same benefits as Dial
Park in terms of council services, which are added to by close working
relations with Stockport Homes and Pure Innovations to ensure that
any issues connected to the world of housing and education
/employment are addressed. In addition, the Council has good working
relationships within the voluntary sector and groups such as “Starters”
who offer direct support to young people.

1.14 During 2013 it is likely that Broadfield will be de-registered as a
Children’s Home. The statement of purpose will remain as now and the
services offered will continue. However it is agreed across the Council
and Ofsted that in true terms, the client group and the ways of working
are no longer “Children’s Home” relevant. As such, the formal title will
be “Semi Independence accommodation”. This brings the service into
line with providers from the private sector.

The number and make up of Children’s Homes in the borough 

1.15 There are currently 39 Private Homes operating in Stockport, providing
a total of 241 beds. Of these 39 Homes a further breakdown reveals
the following:
• 6 are Semi Independent Units with 27 beds in total. These Units do not
need to be registered with Ofsted but do look after young people 16
years and over
• 2 are Residential Schools with education on site offering 48 beds
• 31 are Private Homes with a total of 166 beds. 26 of these beds are
taken by young people from Stockport; the remaining 215 come from
elsewhere in the country.

1.16 Once again, at the time of writing there are 26 Stockport children
placed in Private Children’s Homes. Of these, 22 are over the age of 15
years. This represents a typical scenario where there is a shortage of
foster carers for the older age groups, a more acute need for
accommodation and complexity of multiple problems. Costs for these
placements range from £850 to £3900 per week, dependent on
assessed need and input required. All placements are only sanctioned
at Head of Service level and must be considered by a multi-agency
panel regularly to ensure they are best for the child.

The Council’s relationship with Privately Run Children’s Homes

1.17 Various parts of the Council have a responsibility towards some of the
young people placed in Private Children’s Homes within Stockport. The
issue is complex – a range of the services involved are highlighted

1.18 The Virtual Schools Team has a responsibility towards those children
placed here and also educated here (but not if they continue to be
educated elsewhere.) Schools also have a responsibility to educate
young people placed here as well.

1.19 The Youth Offending Service has a responsibility to supervise young
people who are placed here and subject to one or more of the many
Court orders.

1.20 The Safeguarding Children Unit has a responsibility to coordinate
matters when an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff
in a Private Home.

1.21 The Mosaic substance misuse service provides some services to
young people from Private Homes.

1.22 The Stockport Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) has a
responsibility to provide overarching procedures which Private Homes
need to be aware of (including procedures in relation missing children
and children who are a risk of sexual exploitation.) In addition the
SSCB provides a multi-agency training programme which Private
Homes can access.

1.23 Finally, the Planning Service has a responsibility to manage planning
applications in respect of Private Children’s Homes in Stockport.


  1. in the 1980's children who lived in dialpark were subject to extreme and cruel emotional and physical abuse at the hands of the homes manager and her husband (aunty and uncle) and sexual abuse from their workers didnt listen and children were called liars.there was no human rights or dignity for these children.they were not safeguarded or cared for they were failed and treated in a disgusting way

    1. Ty for your comment.
      Were there any prosecutions from the home? Has there been any info on it? Can only chase up so many cases at a time.
      Any info could help me build the map of abusers and where they worked.
      Its an attempt to chart where and who they all worked with and, in part, try establish if there were any predominant routes over which trafficking patterns between boroughs can be established.

  2. no but there are statements on record

  3. also it was easy for the goings on to be hidden as the manager and her husband (aunty and uncle) and their son permantly lived at the home and there was only 2 other care staff who were aunty barbara and mrs jonson.


Thanks for your time and interest