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Safeguarding issues leads to sudden closure of children's respite centre in Plaistow

PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 July 2019

This respite centre on Dongola Road, Plaistow, has been shut-down with immediate effect after Ofsted was tipped-off about possible safeguarding issues.

This respite centre on Dongola Road, Plaistow, has been shut-down with immediate effect after Ofsted was tipped-off about possible safeguarding issues.

Luke Acton

Ofsted has shut down a respite centre for disabled children with immediate effect after discovering a series of problems with safeguarding.

The Good Support Group is owned by the council but 'independently runs' the Plaistow facility that has been shut down by Ofsted. Picture: Luke Acton.The Good Support Group is owned by the council but 'independently runs' the Plaistow facility that has been shut down by Ofsted. Picture: Luke Acton.

So far, the children services watchdog hasn't said what exactly was happening at the respite centre on Plaistow's Dongola Road.

Ofsted said inspectors went in after a report from the centre itself.

Dongola Road is designed to give carer for children between five and 19 and give parents and carers a break from the caring duties by looking after children for them for a short time.

Parents were called by the council on Thursday, June 27, to get their children out of the centre by 4pm that day.

One parent, whose 13-year-old autistic son goes to the centre every two weeks and stays overnight, tried to get answers when she picked up the phone.

"I tried to find out the reason why it's been shut down and I got no answer," said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous.

According to her, other carers who have children with more severe conditions can use the centre up to twice a week. Visits can last up to a few days.

"I get time to myself. I've got other children, so I can spend a bit of time with them. They're young carers, they help out."

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That mum has three other daughters, aged 16, 14 and 10, who help her with caring and also benefit from the centre, especially eldest.

"She's helped bring him up. If I need to go to the toilet or something, she'll watch him, she'll get him dressed.

"So it's a break for them as well.

"What's upset me more is that there's no guarantee he's going to get further respite."

The seven-bed facility is run by the council-owned Good Support Group, but is run 'independently' of the authority by a board of directors.

This outsourcing and how the council scrutinises these bodies are now under review.

Staff refused to speak to the Recorder when a reporter visited the centre. Operations manager Zubayer Ahmed also declined to comment.

In March, Newham Council was rocked by a scathing Ofsted report into Children's Services.

The watchdog found there was a "significant deterioration" in the department over the last five years.

A Newham Council spokeswoman said it was committed to ensuring vulnerable children and families have the best possible support and services.

"We are concerned that the care and services offered at Dongola Road have not met the very high standards we demand, and have therefore taken swift action to stop all placements," she added.

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