Abuse allegations at Doncaster children's homes prompt £800,000 spending from council to aid investigations

Doncaster Council will spend over £800,000 in extra staff to help with a safeguarding investigation into allegations of abuse at care homes involving children and vulnerable adults.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 8:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 8:55 am
Wilsic Hall School children's home was closed by Ofsted.

Although not mentioned in the report, the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands it relates to Fullerton House School Children’s Home in Denaby and Wilsic Hall School Children’s Home near Wadworth.

Both are operated by the Hesley Group, which has its headquarters at Hesley Hall near Doncaster.

Council bosses have signed off £807,000 to cover up to October 31, 2021 for the additionalstaffing capacity and resources required into the investigation.

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Fullerton House School was closed by Government inspectors earlier this year following an emergency inspection which also saw police brought in to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect at the school as well as similar allegations about Wilsic Hall.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed they are investigating both establishments.

The money will cover an array of staff including a lead senior manager, team manager, eight social workers, a head of service and additional costs to Doncaster Children’s Services Trust (DCST).

Other staff involved include eight safeguarding nurses and a team of police officers including an senior investigating officer (SIO) from South Yorkshire Police.

Wilsic Hall offers accommodation for 32 boys aged between 11 and 19 and supports people with autism, learning difficulties and challenging behaviours.

Fullerton House School Children’s Home, which also cares for children with severe special educational needs, was ordered to shut by the education watchdog following concerns over pupils’ safety.

Riana Nelson, director of learning, skills and opportunities at Doncaster Council, said: “A significant safeguarding investigation is taking place within the borough focused on a provider of children and adult’s services.

“There is a joint adult and children’s governance arrangement in place with a Strategic Management Group overseeing the investigation, making decisions and ensuring that it is adequately resourced.

“The Investigation Management Group coordinates the overall response and meets on a regular basis with the other councils who had children placed with the provider and CCG’s to keep them informed.

“In order to complete the work within a timely way which will support the wider Police and multi-agency investigations we need additional experienced staff capacity to support the work.”

A spokesperson for Hesley Group said the allegations are ‘extremely serious and concerning’ and bosses are working closely with authorities to investigate all the allegations raised.

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