Tees

Durham Tees Valley probation staff warned over safeguarding

Dame Glenys Stacey Image copyright HM Inspectorate of Probation
Image caption Dame Glenys said some case managers had "gaps in knowledge"

Probation staff in Durham Tees Valley are failing to properly address domestic abuse and other care issues, inspectors say.

Complex cases are often given to staff at Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) who have "insufficient experience", they added.

The Stockton-based CRC was rated as "requiring improvement" by HM Inspectorate of Probation.

The CRC said it was "well on the way" to addressing the report's findings.

Having examined about 100 cases, the report found it was "concerning to note that sufficient planning to address domestic abuse issues was found in just over one-third of relevant cases".

Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said governance at the CRC, which supervises more than 3,700 people, was sound.

But she said it had not made enough improvements since a previous inspection in 2016.

'Poor record keeping'

She said: "When we last inspected this CRC, in 2016, we found its quality management arrangements wanting. Regrettably, that is still the case.

"We also found that assessment and planning need to improve.

"Not enough attention has been given to risk of harm and safeguarding issues, from day one and throughout the life of cases, and this has not been identified and addressed systematically.

"Poor record keeping and poor case review practices are commonplace.

"We also noted that some case managers have gaps in their knowledge and skills relating to risk of harm and safeguarding."

While Dame Glenys' report said the CRC had experienced and committed leaders who are focussed on delivering "high-quality" services, it added: "Some staff have insufficient knowledge of public protection and safeguarding practice."

Durham Tees Valley CRC Chief Executive Bronwen Elphick said: "We welcome the report and I am pleased to note we are the only CRC to date to have achieved a rating of "outstanding" for leadership and organisational capability.

"Our inspection has shown we have some work to do around our ability to manage the complex and sometimes competing demands evident in managing individuals within the community.

"We are already well on the way with our action plan to address the deficits highlighted."

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