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Inquiry into Ipswich care facility launched after hundreds of police call outs to anti-social behaviour

PUBLISHED: 07:30 13 August 2020

Anthony Douglas CBE, independent chair of the Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership, is conducting the inquiry into the Stella Maris supported living accommodation off Hadleigh Road, Ipswich. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL/CHARLOTTE BOND

Anthony Douglas CBE, independent chair of the Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership, is conducting the inquiry into the Stella Maris supported living accommodation off Hadleigh Road, Ipswich. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL/CHARLOTTE BOND

Archant

A six week inquiry has been launched after hundreds of police call outs to a supported living accommodation centre for vulnerable adults in Ipswich where neighbours have reported 18 months of disturbances.

The independent inquiry began today, Wednesday, August 12, after pressure from residents living next to the Stella Maris facility off Hadleigh Road, after they reported verbal abuse, anti-social behaviour and disturbances since it opened in December 2018.

MORE: ‘Hundreds’ of police call outs to Ipswich care facility, with neighbours ‘abused’

The facility is run by Swanton Care, which has welcomed the inquiry and apologised to residents for the disturbances, and a total of eight agencies are involved in the provision of care for residents with learning disabilities and health conditions.

Anthony Douglas CBE, independent chair of the Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership and former director of social care and health at Suffolk County Council, will be leading the inquiry after being commissioned by chief executive Nicola Beach.

Mr Douglas said: “I am hoping we can first of all restore the trust between residents and the local authorities, as well as asking why this was allowed to happen and go on for so long in the first place and what could have been done earlier to change the situation.

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“I want to tell some individual stories of maybe three or four residents so we can leave on record what it was actually like for them to have been living with this for so long.

“Since May 2019 there has been no shortage of activity and while there may have been individual visits from the fire service or police, the question is whether something more co-ordinated could have been done much earlier to resolve the situation.

“I can assure people this is a completely independent and objective inquiry.”

Mr Douglas is writing to all 30 residents living near the facility and the tenants, and his inquiry will last six weeks, concluding in September.

It will establish a timeline of incidents at Stella Maris, as well as the actions of staff from involved agencies such as Swanton Care.

Upon conclusion recommendations may be made for the facility’s future.

Anyone who would like to contact Mr Douglas or provide information for the inquiry is asked to email stellamarisinquiry@suffolk.gov.uk


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