A Surrey children’s home closed down less than three weeks after being registered amid concerns about the “conduct and integrity of staff, managers and senior leaders”.
Ofsted inspectors brought forward their first visit to the home in Cranleigh having received “significant concerns and allegations in relation to the home”.
Surrey Police confirmed an investigation into a child protection incident at the home was still ongoing.
Ofsted Inspector Vevene Muhammad visited the home on September 21, after the home and manager’s registration with the watchdog on September 4.
The home is run by Young Options Group Limited, which also has a Cranleigh address.
The company’s registered manager, Joseph Laplana, did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
The inspector’s report, published on October 18, said: “During the inspection, the provider was issued with a notice suspending the registration of the home.
“This is due to the ongoing external investigations, further concerns that were identified at the inspection and to prevent risk of harm should any children be moved into the home.”
This means no children can be moved in to the home while the notice is in place, and Ofsted said no children were in the home at the time of the inspection.
The inspection unearthed “serious concerns” around recruitment practices including information on suitability checks and one member of staff’s “fitness to work with children”.
The home did not show whether this concern had been considered or appropriately risk assessed before or during the staff member’s employment, the inspector said.
The Ofsted report said several leaders, managers and staff were not actively working in the home at the time of the inspection because of the pending outcomes of the active external investigations.
This meant there were not enough staff to operate the home, which provides care for up to two children aged between 11 and 18 with complex needs and are experiencing, or at risk of, child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation.
A Surrey Police spokesperson said: “On 12 September we received a report of a child protection incident at a children’s home in Cranleigh. The investigation remains ongoing. No arrests have been made at this time.”
Inspectors outlinedvarious “serious concerns” regarding the care and protection of children at the inspection. It reads: “At the time of the inspection, the serious concerns and allegations were subject to investigation by the appropriate external authorities.
“The concerns and allegations are so serious that the placing local authority of the children living in the home took the decision to immediately move them on from the home.
“Until the appropriate authorities have concluded their investigations, Ofsted cannot be assured that the individuals leading, managing or working in the home are suitable and safe to care for children.”
They added: “While Ofsted does not have the power to investigate concerns and allegations of this kind, actions taken by the home in response to them were considered, alongside other evidence available at the time of the inspection.”
The report also however mentioned a child, who lived in the home for some time, had made progress before moving on from the home.
“This includes the child being in and making progress in their education and building positive relationships with others” it reads, “However, the serious concerns identified at this inspection undermine this progress.”
Surrey County Council confirmed it had not placed any children in this home or any accommodation provided by Young Options Group Limited provide.
A spokesperson also said they did not have any contact with the company when they were setting up this home, and had not made any referrals to police.
The spokesperson added: “Where providers make contact with the council to inform of their intention to set up a children’s home, we do offer our support.
“This support includes supplying information regarding the needs of Surrey children coming into residential care, offering to read their statement of purposes and other policies and procedures, visiting the home and providing feedback.”