The Care Commission has called for all Scottish young people’s residential homes to record their use of physical restraint, in a performance review.
The report on inspections in 2006-7 revealed 52% of homes needed to improve in one or more of child protection, care planning and the use and recording of physical restraint by staff.
Currently services are not legally obliged to record physical restraint in a standard format. The regulator said this made it impossible to compile a national picture in order to promote best practice in calming confrontational situations.
Need for better training
Ronnie Hill, director of children’s services regulation, said staff needed better training. He added: “Local authorities who place young people in care need to ensure that accurate assessments and proper care planning is in place. Staff also need to have confidence and skill in finding ways that will help to calm down young people and avoid the need for restraint.”
The Care Commission is recommending services use the Holding Safely guidelines developed by the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care, a call backed by the charity Children 1st.
The review also expressed concern over the ability of young people to complain freely about residential services. The commission received 25 complaints from young people in 2006-07. During that period, two residential special schools in Scotland underwent formal enforcement action because of concerns over the safety of young people.