Inspectors highlight vetting problems

Nearly two-thirds of adoption agencies failed last year to meet national minimum standards for vetting and recruiting staff, the Commission for Social Care Inspection has found.

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, published this week.

The commission 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 in adult services.

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 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.

The commission said difficulties in recruiting staff did “not excuse poor recruitment practices” that could place service users at risk.

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