Three East Lothian out-of-school clubs ordered to make urgent improvements
Inspections raised serious concerns
A CHARITY which runs breakfast and after-school clubs in East Lothian has been ordered by inspectors to make urgent improvements to the care provided at three of its services.
The Care Inspectorate has served formal Improvement Notices on the Edinburgh and Lothians Out of School Care Network after visits to Law Out of School Club in North Berwick, Stoneyhill After School Club in Musselburgh and Yester After School Club in Haddington.
The inspections at the three sites all raised serious concerns.
The notices each list four aspects of care which require urgent improvement, including child protection policies and procedures, safer recruitment and self-evaluation.
The notices warn that unless “significant improvement” is made by January 30, the three clubs could lose their registration.
In each case, the notice says: “You must ensure that children are protected from harm, neglect, abuse, bullying and exploitation by people who have a clear understanding of their responsibilities.
“To achieve this you must ensure that the designated child protection co-ordinator, manager and staff team have a clear understanding of child protection and the safeguarding of children. And you must review the service’s policy to ensure it gives management, staff, parents and children clear guidance on how child protection concerns will be dealt with by the service.”
Management must also develop and implement a system that ensures enough information is gathered about each child to meet their medical, care and support needs and that the information is recorded in each child’s personal plan.
The notices also say management must “develop and implement an induction system to support members of staff in their role” as well as training and appraisal systems.
And the inspectorate sets a February 28 deadline for the charity to introduce an evaluation system, including the views of parents and children, and draw up an action plan on how improvements will be achieved.
A spokesman for the Care Inspectorate said: “These improvement notices we have issued clearly lay out the improvements we need to see so that the care experienced by children improves, quickly.
“We will visit these services again soon to check on progress and if we are not satisfied that the matters raised are being addressed, we will not hesitate to take further action.
“Every child in Scotland has the right to safe, compassionate care which meets their needs and respects their rights.”
Lothian Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said it was “very concerning” that the Care Inspectorate had found urgent improvements were needed at the three sites.
“The Out of School care providers must develop a holistic approach to deliver the best possible care experience for young people.
“Having robust and effectively implemented child protection policies is crucial for the safety of young people in the Out of School Care Network.”
The charity said it had accepted the changes highlighted by the Care Inspectorate were required and it was working with the Care Inspectorate to ensure the requirements would be met.
Kirsty Wyllie, chair of Edinburgh and Lothians Out of School Care Network (ELOSCN) said: "All of this has stemmed from visits by the Care Inspectorate at the start of October 2019. Since then, there have been a number of changes, including the appointment of new staff. We have taken on an experienced HR manager and we are recruiting presently for a new general manager.
"All of this has been reported back to the Care Inspectorate and we look forward to working with them in the coming months to ensure that the issues raised in their written reports are responded to with the necessary changes being made.
"ELOSCN are investing in their staff, recruiting more staff and have made changes to how the clubs have been run, to ensure that the issues brought up will and have changed since the time of the inspection in October 2019."