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Sussex care agency had criminals on books
A private care agency operating in Sussex had at least six convicted criminals on its books, The Argus can reveal.
One employee hired by Blue Ribbon Community Care was discovered with 12 convictions for serious offences.
The agency, which is based in Burgess Hill and sends staff to work at homes in Mid Sussex and Crawley, is currently the subject of an investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
A report from an inspection in April revealed at least half a dozen offenders have worked at the agency in recent years.
One carer was found to be a criminal who had been deported from another country for serious offences. The employee was subsequently dismissed.
CQC carried out a recruitment records sample check at the company in January. It revealed that two of the six employees sampled had “serious offences” on their record.
There was no evidence of a risk assessment having been carried out on them. From the same sample, three staff members had also declared “serious medical conditions or health problems”.
There was no evidence that bosses had checked with doctors that they were able to work.
A further sample of employees who were on induction training was carried out later in the month. Of the six looked at, two declared “significant medical conditions or health problems” while three admitted to cautions or convictions for criminal offences.
Again there was no evidence of risk assessment or medical checks.
CQC inspectors said that their findings showed some staff had not had the necessary care work experience. The most recent CQC inspection, carried out last month, showed improvements in recruitment and staffing.
However the agency still failed four of the watchdog’s five major review areas.
A CQC spokesman said: “Concerns were raised last year that proper recruitment checks were not being carried out at Blue Ribbon.
“Subsequent inspections found that some staff employed by the agency had started work without the correct checks and references being in place.
“We are currently monitoring Blue Ribbon (Crawley and Mid Sussex) extremely closely and have been working closely with other stakeholders to protect the safety of people using the agency’s services.
“We are unable to go into further details of action being taken at this time for legal reasons. Any action taken by CQC is subject to challenge via a number of internal and external processes.”
Blue Ribbon was unavailable for comment.
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