Inspection units come under fire

Many social services inspection units are failing to inspect
residential homes and day services for children, reveals the latest
Social Services Inspectorate report.

More than half of the 19 inspection units examined by the SSI
failed their statutory duties to children and adults because they
did not conduct the number of inspections required by

Only one of the 19 units was found to have reached all standards
required. Eight units achieved all statutory and advisory frequency
targets for inspection of residential services. But of the other
11, nine had not inspected all the Registered Homes Act homes twice
and one unit had not inspected many for three years.

None of the 11 units had conducted two inspections of all social
services residential care homes and hostels for adults. One had
never inspected private children’s homes.

Progress to inspecting day services for under-8s once a year was
very slow in most authorities.

Three authorities had yet to achieve full re-registration of day
services for under-8s required by October 1992.

Seven authorities had still not inspected their own nurseries,
while four were behind with annual inspections of childminders and

Staff shortages were the main reason given for failure to meet
statutory responsibilities.

A rise in complaints about registered homes which prompted
lengthy and complicated investigations was another factor. Only 64
per cent of inspectors were experienced in working in the types of
service which formed the bulk of their workload.

In 16 of the units, 63 per cent of inspectors had no
qualifications in field or residential social work or nursing.

Overall the 19 units were involved with the welfare of about
55,000 service users,

but only four units had consulted widely with service users in
the development of standards. Good standards documents were used by
just three units.

The SSI is to review the remaining inspection units by the end
of the year.

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