A ban on placing vulnerable children under the age of 16 into unregulated accommodation has been welcomed by Bedford’s Labour Councillors and MP, but there is frustration that Ofsted regulation of post 16 accommodation is delayed.
Councillor James Valentine, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services & Education at Bedford Borough, led a Motion to Full Council in October 2019 calling for the law to be changed to ensure that semi-independent supported accommodation young people is regulated and inspected, in line with recommendations by an All Party Parliamentary Group report. The motion was passed unanimously.
Bedford & Kempston Labour MP Mohammad Yasin repeatedly raised the issue in Parliament and with Ministers.
The Government response to a consultation on the issue was finally laid out in Parliament last week on Friday 19th February for the ban on under 16s being housed in semi-independent accommodation to come into force in September. However, regulation of these placements for those aged 16 and 17 is still not imminent.
Portfolio Holder for Education & Children’s Services James Valentine said:
“The issue of unregulated settings for young people first came to the attention of Labour Councillors in Kempston due to residents reporting anti-social behaviour and expressing concern for the welfare of the young people.
"We support all efforts to increase the safety of children and young people in Bedford Borough.
"While respondents to the consultation overwhelmingly backed Ofsted regulation of these homes, I am disappointed that the scope of that regulation is subject to further Government consultation and that we still await legislation.”
1. For further information or follow-up, please contact Councillor James Valentine on 01234 330621/077 firstname.lastname@example.org