Request for Information around children safeguarding issues

Currently waiting for a response from West Sussex County Council, they must respond promptly and normally no later than (details).

Dear West Sussex County Council,

I represent one of the families that forms part of the Orchid View Group, a group that was set up following the deaths of 19 residents at Southern Cross care home – ‘Orchid View’ in 2010 and which continues to challenge West Sussex County Council around its continuing failure to effectively prevent serious injuries and death within care homes situated in W Sussex.

In this respect, our group is set to meet with senior members of the council and its officers to discuss the ongoing failures in adult social care on Friday 6 October 2017.

I was extremely alarmed to read the following article in the edition of the Chichester Observer dated 26 September 2017 which now raises the potential for harm to vulnerable children as well as adults in W Sussex care homes.–

I wish to make a freedom of information request about certain points contained in the article and to assist I have reproduced the information below. From the article it can be seen that

‘the council is bringing the administrative part of the MASH service under direct management, as ‘vulnerable children are at risk of harm due to insufficient numbers of assessments being undertaken within 24 hours’.

This was the conclusion of Nathan Elvery, chief executive of WSCC, who in a letter to cabinet member for finance and resources added: “There is evidence to suggest that the performance of the MASH is declining.

Therefore this is causing unacceptable risk to children in the system.

”Sue Mullins, leader of the Labour group at County Hall, said: “We were delighted to hear that this service was being brought back in house, it should never have been outsourced in the first place, as our group continually said, “This is an appalling failure in service provision to our most vulnerable children.

“To not only have to admit that the service provided is not up to the required standard, but to then have to enact the decision with such unseemly haste, because of ‘unacceptable risk to children in the system’, is staggering.

“How could things possibly have got to this sorry state of affairs?”

Please provide me with a response to the following:-

• What is the nature of the evidence referred to by Nathan Elvery that performance is declining in this crucial area
• When was this first noticed
• Have any safeguarding incidents occurred as a result
• When was the original decision to outsource this service taken and by whom
• What governance process was followed
• What financial penalties has WSCC invoked on Capita for failure to deliver effectively on its contract
• Have WSCC officers advised OFSTED of the failures and if so, when ws this action completed

I look forward to receiving your response so I can assess if this represents further evidence of failure in another area of social care in W Sussex

Yours faithfully,

Judith Charatan

Freedom of Information Act, West Sussex County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Charatan,


Thank you for your enquiry, which has been forwarded to the appropriate
officers for a response. The usual timescale for a response is twenty
working days, that is by or on 30 October 2017.


If for any reason the Council needs to extend this timescale you will be
notified in accordance with the relevant legislation.


Please note that in 2012 the County Council adopted a position in
principle that FoI and EIR requests to West Sussex County Council and the
Council's responses may be published on the Council's website in a
suitably anonymised form. This is in addition to the individual response
to the requestor, and in line with the Council's commitment to
transparency and open data.


Yours sincerely,


Duncan Macdonald

Customer Relations Officer



Freedom Of Information |  [1]West Sussex County Council | Location:
County Hall, Chichester PO19 1RQ
E-mail: [2][email address]





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