Adoption agency: "We'll do better..."

Adoption agency rated "inadequate"
Adoption agency rated "inadequate"

A Pocklington-based adoption agency has been rocked by a damning Ofsted report.

Staff and management at the voluntary adoption agency, New Leaf Adoption, are now working hard to ensure their efforts are up to scratch.

The agency received “inadequate” ratings in three of the four inspection categories with its overall effectiveness rated “inadequate”.

The report added that there were “significant shortfalls in the quality of service provided, safeguarding and leadership and management”. But the Ofsted report did also record that “most adopters feel well-supported and speak highly of their social workers and support workers.”

The report states: “The deficits which underpin the structure of the service mean that the safety and well-being of children and positive outcomes cannot be assured.”

Despite this, the single “good” rating the agency received was under the inspection category “experiences and progress of, and outcomes for, children and young people”.

Since its registration in 2011, the agency has placed 41 children with its approved adoptive families. Most of the children were considered “harder to place” due to their age, disability, ethnicity or because they are being placed with their brothers and sisters.

The February report comments: “quite remarkably, six brothers and sisters have been placed together with one adoptive family”.

Only three of the 41 children placed have not remained with their adoptive families. But it was behind the scenes that the problems appeared to lie.

The former co-director did not cease “to undertake social work tasks during a period of suspension and subsequent removal from the register of social workers”.

This could potentially have left children and adopters “at risk”. The adoption manager also failed to exercise the necessary oversight of the agency, according to the report. “The serious shortfalls in the quality of service have not been challenged effectively, and the quality assurance of work has been poor,” said the report.

The co-director has resigned and the agency is advertising for a new adoption manager.

The report added: “Timescales for the preparation, assessment and approval of adopters are extremely quick. However, this is because the agency has not complied with the regulatory framework for stages one and two of approval process.”

The responsible individual, Iain Dickinson, and the board, are “fully aware of the actions that they now need to take to ensure that the service is safe,” said the report.

“They are committed to making the necessary improvements that are required to promote safe and secure outcomes for adopted children and young people.”

Iain Dickinson, director of New Leaf Adoption, said: “Following our Ofsted inspection we, as an agency have seen a huge amount of change. We have a new management team in place and all of the staff are enthusiastic, dedicated and committed to the agency. I have stepped up as the sole director to head the organisation.

“Essentially, we are relaunching with new staff and a new way of working. Ofsted have been fantastic and are helping us move forward. We have had a mixed report with a great deal of positives but also some negatives that we recognise need to be fixed and we are very grateful to Ofsted in addressing these issues. We are working as a team to tackle these issues and are looking forward to our next inspection where we can show all of the work we have done.

“We have always prided ourselves with ensuring our adopters have a great experience, working with them throughout the process and afterwards, ensuring they get the support they need, even if it is just a listening ear. We will continue to do this and crucially offer people a great deal of support throughout the process and into the future when it is needed the most.

“We give people a great service and just want everyone to know that we are still here and will continue doing what we do best, bringing families together.”