Alexandra House Children’s Home
Function and Purpose
and Support Services
Review Date: April 2011
This statement of purpose and function, is written in accordance within the regulatory
requirements of the Care Standards Act 2000 and the Children’s Home Regulations
The statement is produced by the Children’s Accommodation and Support Service of
SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL.
Reference is also made within the statement to a series of Suffolk Social Care
department policy documents, which can be read in conjunction with this statement.
These are all available in full at Alexandra House.
A copy of this statement is provided to the Ofsted and is also available to:-
Each person who works at Alexandra House.
Each Child provided with accommodation at Alexandra House.
All Parents (or persons with parental responsibility) of any child provided with
accommodation at Alexandra House.
The placing Authority or Agency of any child provided with accommodation at
The registered provider for all SCC Children’s homes is;
Suffolk County Council
IP1 2BX Tel: 01473 583000
The ‘Registered Individual’ (as defined under current legislation), on behalf of the
County Council, responsible for the service at Alexandra House is:-
Tel: 01473: 583000
Lead Officers in CPYS with responsibilities for Alexandra House:
Graham Newman Lead Elected Portfolio Holder Children’s Services
David Johnston Head of Corporate Parenting
Cliff James Head of Safeguarding (Suffolk County Council)
Peter Little Head of Service (Children’s Accommodation Service)
Sarah Chesterton Registered Manager, Alexandra House
Susanna Bedford Safeguarding Manager (LADO) Western Area
Ofsted Registration Number TBA
May provide care and accommodation for no more than 6 children (plus two in the
independence training flat) of either sex from 11 to 17 years at any one time.
May provide care and accommodation for 6 children with emotional or behavioural
difficulties and/or mild learning difficulties (plus 2 in the independence training flat).
May provide accommodation for children outside the specified age range in an
emergency situation when notified to and agreed to in advance by Ofsted.
67a Hospital Road
Bury St Edmunds
Tel. 01284 741281
Location and Accommodation
Alexandra House is a new purpose built detached house with its own garden situated in
Bury St Edmunds
The home is situated on a main bus route and is within walking distance to Bury St
Edmunds town centre which has a popular shopping centre, swimming pool, sports
centre, cinemas, theatre, bowling alley, railway station, fast food shops, etc. Locally
there are also youth clubs, dance classes, football teams and drama groups that the
children can join if they wish.
The home has 6 bedrooms each with an en-suite, comprising of a shower, toilet and
sink. Each bedroom has suitable bed and bedding, TV, desk and seating, storage for
clothes, lockable safe storage for personal possessions, a window with curtains, lighting
sufficient to read by, carpet and heating. The home comprises of 6 bedrooms in the
main part of the building and 2 bedrooms in the ‘preparation for leaving care’ flat.
For children who require post 16 support and who are engaged in further education
there is the ‘preparation for leaving care’ flat, comprising of a lounge, kitchen and 2
bedrooms with en-suite facilities, offering opportunities to support the development of
practical life skills. This is a time managed, independence training facility, with children
staying no more than 6 months.
The home has spacious communal areas which include a computer and games room, a
TV and music lounge, a dining room, an art room and a garden.
Visitors are welcome at all reasonable times during the day and evening, but not when
children should be at school, and, not after the home has settled in the evening (usually
The home has art and craft materials, games, a snooker and table tennis table, dance
mats, play stations, and a wii machine.
Admission to all of Suffolk County Council Children’s Homes is by way of initial referral
to the Central Placement Team, Endeavour House .Referrals are then passed on to
individual homes managers for assessment and approval. All initial referrals must
include a current Suffolk County Council pre-admission risk assessment.
At Alexandra House all possible care is taken to ensure that all the children
accommodated meet all of the criteria of registration, placement continuation and
eventual discharge, as appropriate.
In respect of all admissions, the assessment and approval process will always consider
the needs of any new child concerned, and the likely effects of his/her admission upon
the existing group of residents. This ‘best-fit’ matching for all children ensures that no
one child admitted presents a known significant risk likely to compromise the safety or
developmental opportunities of any other.
Suffolk County Council Children’s Homes aim where possible to follow a model of
Informs the child concerned, along with any person with parental responsibility of
the pre-admission assessment.
Considers all information from partners involved in the ‘partnership of care’ for the
Provide opportunities for the child to visit the home prior to admission.
Agree the tasks, preferred outcomes and the time limits of the placement, as
outlined in the care plan with the Social Work teams.
Following admission, care planning will then follow the schedule set within the
Department Children, Families and Schools ‘Children in Public Care system. i.e.: First
review of care plan within 28 days of placement and then three months and six months.
Further reviews will take place at least every six months; or as requested sooner by any
member of the ‘Partnership of Care’.
Aims and Objectives
The overall aim of Alexandra House is to provide a safe, nurturing, caring and homely
environment for each child, where issues and concerns affecting both their past and
their future can be positively addressed and supported.
Working in partnership with each child, their families and other professionals we
endeavour to enhance each child’s levels of self-esteem by creating and maximizing
safe opportunities in which to learn, develop and realise appropriate degrees of self-
This partnership work is focused around placement plans which inform future
permanence. When it is possible we aim to achieve family reunification, but when that is
not an option we work toward other preferred choices such as foster care, kinship care,
independent living, supported lodgings, or specialised residential care.
Ethos and Culture
The ethos and culture of Alexandra House is founded in pedagogic practice which
promotes the development of meaningful relationships between staff and children
based on core values of mutual respect and good parenting, respectful to the values of
privacy, dignity, independence, choice, rights and fulfillment.
All staff at Alexandra House will be encouraged to have an active awareness of each
child’s racial, cultural, religious and dietary needs, and all children will receive sensitivity
in practice, especially when dealing with personal issues.
All information about children accommodated at Alexandra House will remain
confidential and will not therefore be disclosed to another, or, to any inappropriate
source. Children will however; have the right to view their own file.
Staff at Alexandra House will use techniques for managing children’s behaviour, based
on avoiding punitive measures in reaction to negative behaviour(s), so that children can
understand and learn from their mistakes.
All children accommodated at Alexandra House will be made aware of their rights and
how to access independent advocacy services, Children’s Rights services and Ofsted.
All children at Alexandra House will be actively encouraged to share and influence the
day-to-day routines and practices within the home through a variety of means, including
attending children’s meetings and Steering Group Meetings.
All children at Alexandra House will be made aware of clear information about how to
discreetly raise their concerns both formally and informally, via ” I want you to Know”
All children at Alexandra House will be given the opportunity to actively engage in, and
influence the planning and delivery of a wide variety of leisure activities which may
include holidays both abroad and in this country and access appropriate opportunities
which involve calculated risk.
All children at Alexandra House will be subject to the use of care planning and review
which will track developments for each child and ensure that service provision most
appropriately meets health, education and social needs of each child.
All children at Alexandra House will have access to work directly with commissioned
partners in order to maximise their social and educational opportunities
All children at Alexandra House will be provided with direct support and guidance from 3
Key workers who will give support and information about how to influence decisions and
actions regarding their health, education and emotional wellbeing.
All Staff at Alexandra House will actively promote family contact, as appropriate and
agreed in the Care Plan for each child, particularly if it supports home re-unification.
Leaving Care Catch 22
Education LACESS : Linda Norris
Health CAMHS (Suffolk Health Partnerships)
Restorative Justice Catch 22: Karen Todd
Advocacy ACT (Anglia Care Trust)
Advocacy Children’s Rights (Suffolk Safeguarding): Bridget Warren
Organisational Structure of Alexandra House
Alexandra House has a manager, who is supported by a team of two senior staff (team
leaders) and a team of Residential Child Care Workers, which are designated for
daytime work and 6 part-time who are designated for night working. The home also has
an attached pool of relief staff, to cover any staffing shortfalls.
Name Title Qualifications
Sarah Chesterton Homes Manager DIPSW & NVQ 4 RMA
Lorraine Warren Team Leader NVQ 4 Child Care & RMA
Michele Green Team Leader NVQ 4 Child Care & RMA
Joe Cox Team Leader NVQ 3
Becky Waters RCCW NVQ 3
Phillip Pugh RCCW NVQ 3
Trevor Hammond RCCW NVQ 3
Ai-Heng Byron RCCW NVQ 3
Amanda Heys RCCW NVQ 3
Helen Brooker RCCW NVQ 3
Christine Jones RCCW NVQ 3
Dawn Dixon RCCW CWDC Diploma in Child Care started Jan 2011
Alan Jones RCCW CWDC
Ann Milstead RCCW CWDC
Sally Chamberlain RCCW CWDC Diploma in Child Care started Jan 2011
Hannah Turner RCCW CWDC
Alexandra House is fully operational 7 days per week, 365 days of the year.
Alexandra House will have at least two members of staff on duty during the day shifts.
There will also be two members of staff awake and on duty at night. The staffing rota
provides flexible arrangements to meet the needs for the provision of activities and to
cover busy times for children. Additional staff will be available during non- school times,
in the evenings and weekends.
All staff have telephone access to the Home’s senior staff for support/guidance by way
of 24hr x 7 day a week call out system, CHOOHSS.
Supervision is provided for all staff at Alexandra House in accordance with National
Minimum Standards 2002. Using a variety of formats, including peer supervision, team
meetings and where appropriate, action learning events. Staff are provided with
individual, direct 1-2-1 supervision which incorporates reflective practice from a senior
member of staff at least once per month.
All staff at Alexandra House are required to complete a training plan, founded on the
requirements Care Standards 2011. All new staff will receive CWDC induction and then
progress to NVQ 3 in Children and Young People. In addition all staff will be required to
complete and maintain Unisafe accreditation, first aid and food hygiene and additional
specialisms such as “Restorative Justice”, sexual health and ‘drugs and alcohol’
All staff at Alexandra House keep and update a personal professional development
portfolio, which contain all details of their previous training and professional
experiences, their qualifications and their agreed development targets. The
development requirements will be identified through supervision and the on-going
appraisal process. Training & development opportunities will be provided for a minimum
of six paid days per year, for each staff member.
When appropriate staff will be encouraged to access post-qualifying and management
training in childcare as part of CASS’s succession planning.
The Children’s Accommodation and Support Service have developed with partners a
system of registration, recording and monitoring both the physical and mental health of
As part of the admission process, keyworkers at Alexandra House in partnership with
parents and others will ensure that every child is registered with a local GP, dentist and
optician and that arrangements are made for necessary visits and periodic tests.
Staff at Alexandra House will record all details of such visits on individual placement
plans, including treatment and medication details.
As part of the admission process, those holding parental responsibility will need to
provide consent for the administration of medications and drugs. Thereafter decisions
about who will be responsible for administering or consenting to emergency medical
treatment will be taken after consultations with medical professionals, senior social care
staff and those with parental responsibility.
At Alexandra House all medications (including non-prescribed) are stored in locked
receptacles, in accordance with Children’s Homes Regulations 2001 and are recorded
on individual medical records held at the home.
All children at Alexandra House can access direct specialist therapeutic and counseling
services from CAMHS.
In order to support healthy lifestyles the Children’s Accommodation and Support Service
have developed practice in order to compliment the health of all children.
All care staff at Alexandra House share a common responsibility to promote the health
and welfare of all accommodated children.
At Alexandra House regular meetings are held by children, staff and other professionals
to discuss things which may adversely effect children’s health: Typically this may
include personal hygiene, diet, smoking, alcohol, drug and solvent misuse, personal
safety and general health.
Alexandra House will always attempt to seek the approval of those with parental
responsibility (for those under 16), when dealing with issues which arise for each child’s
developing sexuality. This may involve the provision of education and guidance in
respect of sexual activity, contraception, promiscuity, sexuality, HIV/Aids and sexually
In accordance with government LAC 94(4) guidance, all children at Alexandra House
are actively discouraged from smoking. Smoking is not permitted within the building and
only children aged 18 years and over may be permitted to smoke and then only in a
designated outside area, away from other children. At Alexandra House staff are not
allowed to smoke in front of children at any time, or to provide any assistance for
children to smoke.
The Children’s Accommodation and Support Service accepts that all children in society
will, from time-to-time, display behaviours which are outside of the norms of social
acceptability. Furthermore, the Service accepts that many children will have past or
current experiences which adversely affect their understanding of the accepted
In order to help our children, the Service has developed policy, systems and processes
with partners and stakeholders in order to not only minimise risks for children, staff and
members of the community but also enable learning and resolution.
At Alexandra House the welfare and protection of children from abuse is paramount.
The management and staff at Alexandra House work very closely with the local
Safeguarding Manager (LADO) in terms of prevention and resolution of child protection
issues and the investigation of allegations against persons employed in the home.
All serious incidents involving the protection of children resident in the home are notified
to partners in care by way of a Schedule 5, Reg 30 National Minimum Standard 2002.
Copies of these incidents and subsequent minutes of either Child Protection or Risk
Strategy meetings are held on file in the home.
All incidents involving allegations against persons employed in the home are
investigated and resolved using the Suffolk SCB “Arrangements for Managing
Allegations of Abuse against people who work within Suffolk County Council Children’s
Less serious incidents or concerns are conducted in line with the preferred outcomes of
the Children’s Accommodation and Support Service’s Behaviour Management Policy,
which has procedure guidelines covering Constructive Sanctions, Bullying, Missing from
Care/Unauthorised Absence, Restraint, Risk Management and Unacceptable
All staff at Alexandra House use constructive procedures, processes and models of
intervention as set out in the Children’s Accommodation and Support Service’s
Behaviour Management Policy in order to manage risk taking behaviour.
All staff at Alexandra House have web site access to joint agency protocols and
procedures for the protection of children, including children in public care.
All staff at Alexandra House are given appropriate training in child protection, including
recognition, procedures and responses whilst on CWDC induction training and
specialised drug and sexual health training as part of their on-going training programme.
All staff at Alexandra House are aware of the safeguarding implications for our children
with regard to the internet and other technologies. Consideration is always given to the
individual circumstances of particular children in watching videos and television, and in
using computer games and accessing the Internet. Videos, games consoles and
computer games may be watched / played only by children of the intended age range.
Alexandra House will not have any videos, games, books or other materials certified as
suitable only for people over 18.
Safe systems are employed at Alexandra House to ensure the appropriate use of
Internet facilities at all times (Predator Guard – Nanny IT system).
Training in Restorative Justice Models of practice is available for all staff at Alexandra
House. (Catch 22)
All staff at Alexandra House are given appropriate restraint training (Unisafe) and are
re-accredited on a yearly basis. All potential new staff at Alexandra House are subject to
Warner style interviews.
Alexandra House itself is fully compliant with all relevant fire safety legislation. Fire
safety equipment is serviced, inspected and if necessary repaired, as prescribed by the
manufacturers. Records are available on site.
All children and staff are made aware of the fire evacuation procedure and assembly
point should fire occur. All alarm tests and evacuation events are recorded and on file.
Enjoy and Achieve
The Children’s Accommodation and Support Service recognises that education, in all of
its forms, is the cornerstone of personal growth and development. All our children will
be actively encouraged to partake in formal and informal educational opportunities
appropriate to their need(s). It is not uncommon for our children to have a history of
poor attendance or exclusion from school following family trauma.
In order to maximise our children’s opportunities to achieve the Children’s
Accommodation and Support Service and our partners have adopted successful policy
and practice. Our primary partner is LACESS (LAC Educational Support Service) who
provide direct one to one support for all our children in terms of admission to schools
and on-going support. In this they are supported by keyworkers at the home, Social
Workers, Special Needs Services, Educational Psychologists, Connexions advisors,
Area Education Officers, parents (or those with Parental responsibility) and most
importantly, the children.
At Alexandra House all efforts will be made at the active planning stage for admission to
secure an education provision for the child.
All children will receive encouragement and assistance from staff to attend regularly and
educational achievements will be celebrated.
All children will have a ‘Personal Education plan’ (PEP) which will be reviewed termly,
and where appropriate, a statement of special educational needs.
Keyworkers at Alexandra House will support their children in terms of resolving any
issues and/or difficulties with the school, transport, uniform and equipment purchases,
attend school functions, parent evenings and provide the conduit for information shared
between the home and school.
Alexandra House has a dedicated ‘study’ area for use by all children, complete with
appropriate learning equipment, computer with internet facilities and books. In addition,
each child has the facility for further private study in their own bedroom.
A staff member responsible for educational leads at Alexandra House will maintain an
accurate record of all school attendance, using an electronic data management system.
This is available for inspection by official visitors.
Make a Positive Contribution
The Children’s Accommodation and Support Service recognises the value in creating
opportunities for children to develop citizenship by promoting participation in cultural
activities, sport, recreation and decision making.
Children are actively encouraged and supported to influence their care and the way the
home is run. No child is assumed to be unable to communicate their views.
Children at Alexandra House are always encouraged to attend and complete the
appropriate preparatory documentation prior to their reviews.
All children at Alexandra House are encouraged to form part of the interview process for
all new staff.
Children’s meetings are regularly held at the home, at which children are encouraged to
play an active role in the planning of both individual and group activities.
Children at Alexandra House have the opportunity and are actively encouraged to join
the Home’s Steering Group, which is made up of representatives of the CYPS and the
community who focus on general developments of the service provision and strive to
ensure that each child has the opportunity to engage fully in their local community.
Alexandra House has regular visits from the Children’s Rights officers where children,
who may be having difficulties in being able to represent themselves, or their views, can
freely and in confidence raise issues and find resolution.
Achieve Economic Wellbeing
The Children’s Accommodation and Support Service have recently introduced a raft of
supports in some of the homes which will enable planned transitions to independence to
be more supportive and constructive.
At Alexandra House there is the opportunity to move into an independent training flat for
the last 6 months of residence, which has its own kitchen, sitting room and en-suite
bedrooms. Staff and other people will provide help and advice with cooking skills,
personal finance and general care. The occupation of the flat is time managed and is
conditional on the occupant being in employment or further education. Whilst in
residency, children will be encouraged to engage with “Path to Independence”, a
structured life skills programme developed by Catch 22.
Governance and Quality Assurance
All Suffolk County Council Children’s Homes are inspected twice a year by OFSTED.
OFSTED is a government organisation that inspects children’s homes to make sure
they are run well and follow the children’s individual care and placement plans.
OFSTED’S phone number is 08456 404040.
In addition all Suffolk County Council Children’s Homes are inspected on a monthly
basis by Regulation 33 visitors who record the findings of the home set against the
standards set out in National Minimum Standard 2002. Their report is forwarded to
OFSTED, Suffolk County Council Corporate Parenting, Suffolk Safeguarding, and
others in the partnership of care.
The Children’s Accommodation and Support Service also employs a monthly reporting
process, which is specific to the child, members of the ‘partnership of care’, including
the Child, Parents, Social Worker, Independent Reviewing Officer and any other
interested parties, where recipients are encouraged to use a confidential ‘feed-back’
system. All children are actively encouraged to complete a section within this monthly
Arrangements for dealing with complaints
The Children’s Accommodation and Support Service recognises that all children need to
feel able to complain, know how to do so and be supported when they feel unhappy with
any aspect of living in a children’s home.
Complaints are dealt with as soon as is practically possible by the most appropriate
person. In many cases this may be a member of staff.
Alexandra House employs an internal ‘I want you to know’ format, where children are
routinely and actively encouraged to express their views about their daily care (positively
and negatively). This does not detract in any way from the use of the formal complaints
procedure, but is a local addition, providing a same day response in most cases.
Suffolk County Council employs a specific complaints management and response
system. Full details of this are available at each of the children’s homes and are
explained to each child, following admission and on request. The County Council also
provides a written guidance, using age appropriate terms, for all accommodated
children. This is available from Alexandra House or from the Customer services
department of CYPS, at Endeavour House, Ipswich. Tel 01473 583000
Arrangements for dealing with reviews or placement plans
Suffolk County Council employs the current Department of Children, Families and
Schools procedures and documentation, for Children in Public Care covering essential
information, placement planning, assessment and action records and reviewing.
At Alexandra House, most cases, other than those in crisis situations, will be subject to
pre-placement planning strategy. A review of arrangements will be held within one
month of placement (or sooner if required or requested). Further reviews will be held no
later than three months and then six months later as a minimum. It is the responsibility
of the key-worker, under the guidance of the home’s manager and team leaders, to
monitor and ensure that the requirements of the care plan are implemented in the day-
to-day care of each child.
The manager will maintain a specific record of all reviews and all Children in Public Care
documentation at Alexandra House. This will be held in specific confidential files and
tracked using the Suffolk County Council electronic data management system.