Nearly two-thirds of adoption agencies failed last year to meet national minimum standards for vetting and recruiting staff, according to the Commission for Social Care Inspection today.
And 51 per cent of care homes for younger adults with mental health problems also failed to make the grade, according to its report, Safe and Sound.
CSCI found more improvement in children’s services, although overall performance was “still poor”.
Voluntary sector children’s homes made the biggest improvement, with 66 per cent meeting the standards in 2004-5, compared with 38 per cent a year earlier. Also, 64 per cent of fostering services were meeting the standards.
But the report highlighted concerns about the lack of improvement to adult services.
Dame Denise Platt, Chair of the Commission, said: “While there has been progress in the last couple of years, many care providers are still not meeting the minimum standard.
“Employers need to be more rigorous in their recruitment and vetting practices, so that people who use services can have confidence that their care is safe.”
The commission also analysed a random sample of inspections of 150 of the poorest-performing services to find out why providers failed to meet the standards.
More than half of the adoption agencies that failed did so because they lacked clearly stated recruitment policies, while 19 per cent did not carry out the right level of checks on prospective staff.
Among younger adults’ care homes that failed to meet the standards, 53 per cent did not carry out proper checks on staff.
CSCI said difficulties in recruiting staff did “not excuse poor recruitment practices” that could place service users at risk.