Sunday, 25 August 2019

Chiltern Centre re-opens

Chiltern Centre re-opens

THE Chiltern Centre has re-opened after receiving permission to offer respite care breaks to disabled older teenagers and young adults.

The centre, off Greys Road, Henley, is now registered with the Care Quality Commission, the Government’s health and social care regulator, and can accept clients aged 16 to 25 only.

It was previously registered with Ofsted, the schools and children’s services inspectorate, and could also accept children but this was cancelled because it had predominantly cared for older clients for many years.

Ofsted had allowed the centre to continue in this way as it repeatedly promised to remedy the situation by taking on “wholly or mostly” under-16s in line with the terms of its registration.

But the proportion of older users continued to increase, although the centre says it had no control over the age of clients referred by other agencies and it would have been financially unsustainable to turn them down.

Ofsted finally dropped the centre after deeming it “inadequate” following an inspection in January where it learned that a safeguarding concern hadn’t been reported to the county’s external board.

No one was harmed but it said procedure should have been observed.

The Ofsted registration expired two weeks ago and the centre briefly shut while awaiting the commission’s decision. During that time, staff were briefed on the new regulator’s requirements.

Paul Barrett, chairman of trustees, said: “There was a short hiatus but we’re up and running again and we’re very pleased that we will be able to continue serving the community.”

The charity could register with Ofsted again if it finds larger premises where the two age groups could be segregated.

It has held talks with housebuilder Crest Nicholson about moving into the new community centre at the Highlands Farm development off Greys Road but nothing has been agreed.

It is understood that the developer would prefer a sports club to move in but has received little interest.

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