Temporary closure of children’s home after standards concerns is costing £1.2 million

Minster View, Southwell, was temporarily closed by Nottinghamshire County Council. (Picture: Google)
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

The temporary closure of a Nottinghamshire children’s home has caused a £1.2 million overspend to the county council’s finances.

Nottinghamshire County Council decided to temporarily shut Minster View, in Southwell, in December 2020 over what it described as an “emerging picture” of lacking best practice.

This was compounded by pandemic-related staffing challenges at the time, with Covid cases beginning to re-emerge as local lockdown restrictions were enforced across the country.

Four children were placed into temporary accommodation as a result of the decision, the council confirmed on Monday, leading directly to a forecasted £1.243 million overspend in the Children and Young People’s budget.

These children will remain in temporary housing until a decision is made on reopening the home.

Commenting on the situation, Steve Edwards, service director for youth, families and social work at the authority, said the best interests of the children remain the top priority.

He said: “Minster View was temporarily closed in December 2020 as  a consequence of Covid-related staffing challenges, together with an emerging picture that recent practice had not always been of the high quality expected.

“The projected overspend is a result of four children from Minster View being placed in temporary alternative accommodation, and this represents 0.8 per cent of the total Children’s budget.

“Work looking at options for the reopening of Minster View is ongoing.

“We will consult with relevant parents and carers in the near future, prior to any final decisions being made.

“The council will continue to act in the best interests of the children.”

The situation at Minster View was briefly mentioned at the council’s finance committee meeting on Monday (September 6).

It came amongst concerns over a “continual overspend” in the children and young peoples’ budget.

Councillor Tom Hollis (Ash Ind), who represents Sutton West, told the committee: “It’s a concern that no-one is getting to grips with this continual overspend of services that children and young peoples are responsible for.

“What are the plans to mitigate the continual overspend, and should we look at re-budgeting?

“Do we need to lobby the Government for more financial support for our children and young people, as this strain on the council is clearly overwhelming?”

Responding to Cllr Hollis, Cllr Richard Jackson (Con), finance committee chairman, said: “We do plan to bring children’s [budget] specifically as an agenda item to a future committee.”

(Visited 1 times, 2 visits today)