'Serious shortfalls' at Bognor family centre

Jessie Ballard has been found safe and well
Jessie Ballard has been found safe and well

'Serious shortfalls' were found at a centre to support parents and children in Bognor, Ofsted reported this week.

Ambient House, which is based in Nyewood Lane was rated 'inadequate' rating after two inspections in September which found 'serious and/or widespread failures' in regards to safeguarding.

Ofsted criticised a 'blanket use' of CCTV, the effect of a 'curfew' on a parent and disagreements which led to police having to be called.

However, some findings stated that there was a 'strong focus' on children's needs and a 'good balance' between the parents' parenting capacity and their ability to promote their child's welfare.

The CCTV 'unnecessarily affected' the dignity and privacy of parents and children, according to the report.

It continued: "One parent was told that he could not take part in an evening activity due to a 'curfew' in place. The family intended to build a life in the local community and the parent was trying to develop a hobby and friendships in the local area. Although amicably resolved with the manager, this was an unnecessarily stressful issue for this parent."

Disagreements between the manager and the responsible individual in the management of safeguarding matters are of 'significant concern' according to the report which stated: "One example caused a situation to escalate to a point that the police were called to manage the situation. The outcome of this incident was that the placement for this parent and child was ended prematurely."

The report also stated that a parent, who disclosed historical abuse, was not supported practically or emotionally to approach a support group.

The residential family assessment centre, which declined to comment on the report, said on its website that it provides 'a safe, calm and supportive environment for people who have had areas of concern identified regarding their ability to effectively and safely parent their child or children'.

Part of the report stated there were 'serious shortfalls' in health and safety matters, including fire safety arrangements, infection control and safe storage of cleaning materials. These included damaged fire doors, bedding piled on a water tank with wires coming out, and no policy for infection control.

Key findings also included staff recruitment processes that did not meet regulations and not all staff had completed the minimum training. Inspectors found shortfalls in staff references and the centres' ability to explore gaps in staff employment history.

Summarising, the report stated: "serious and/or widespread failures that mean children and parents are not protected of their welfare us not promoted or safeguarded and/or the care and experiences of the children and parents are poor."