Somerset County Council’s Adult Social Care team played a key role in responding to allegations of the mistreatment of care home residents, according to a report published yesterday.
Mendip House, a care home for people with autism and complex needs near Highbridge, closed in November 2016 following investigations into allegations of mistreatment and abuse of some residents by a number of staff.
None of its six residents were from Somerset, but placed there by councils and health authorities from around the country.
Allegations from two whistle-blowers were made to Somerset’s safeguarding staff in May 2016 and the Council’s Adult Social Care service led the response and support to residents.
It set-up and funded a four-strong Emergency Team which reviewed care, contacted residents and their social workers and assessed the care at other dwellings in the small Somerset Court care ‘campus’ arrangement run by the National Autistic Society.
Its work is described as ‘robust’ in the report published by the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB), which said the service took a ‘proactive management role in ensuring the safety of residents.’
Stephen Chandler, Director of Children’s Services, said: “We responded rapidly and robustly to these allegations, coordinated the multi-organisational response, taking steps to ensure the safety of residents in the other homes that made up Somerset Court.
“Social care supports some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. This will have been a traumatic experience for the residents at Mendip House, their families and loved ones.
“It is imperative that everyone involved in the care system does everything they can to make sure they are not put at risk of abuse.”
Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “Cases like this are thankfully rare and these reviews are carried out to reduce the chance of them happening in the future.
“The report makes important recommendations for change that would bring more clarity on the responsibility for placing authorities to monitor the care being provided to the people they place. I hope that the care system well beyond Somerset will learn from the weaknesses that this review has highlighted.”
Mendip House was one of seven separately registered dwellings on a residential care home ‘campus’ for adults with autism run by the National Autistic Society (NAS) called Somerset Court.
At the time, Somerset Court was home to 42 adults with severe autism placed by 30 different local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups from across the UK.
You can read the full report on the SSAB website www.ssab.safeguardingsomerset.
Anyone who is worried about a vulnerable adult should call Adult Social Care on 0300 123 2224.