Nottingham home ‘should have shut’

Nottingham Council has denied it was ordered by the National Care
Standards Commission to close a children’s home where a girl was
later found hanged.

The commission said it had advised the authority in April 2002 to
close Beechwood Home after its inspectors found managers were not
in control.

It could only advise at that stage as it did not have its
legislative powers to order closure until July.

The commission claimed it had withdrawn its recommendation two days
later after council assurances that the management of the home
would improve.

But Dr Mike Lindsay, senior professional adviser to the
commission’s children’s rights team, said the home had become
“steadily more unstable and difficult to manage”.

A verdict of accidental death was returned at the inquest on
15-year-old Sarah Harrison.

Sarah, a victim of bullying at the home, died five months after the
commission claims to have made its recommendation.

The council denies any such suggestion was made. Andrew Lowe, the
assistant director of social services, said: “I don’t recall this
recommendation ever being made.”

A council spokesperson added: “NCSC inspectors carried out a review
of the home in April 2002 and highlighted a number of concerns. We
produced an action plan to act on the issues it laid out.”

The NCSC inspected the home again in October 2002 and ordered its

It is expected to re-open in the summer under a new regime.

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