A CHILD in care was left sleeping on a sofa for three months as social workers raise new concerns over staffing and safety.

A whistleblower has alerted the Care Inspectorate because the young person had been in that accommodation since January.

They told the Reporter the youngster had no privacy because of a lack of facilities and West Dunbartonshire is one of the few authorities in the country to still have shared rooms in residential units.

The whistleblower said about 45 social workers across residential units have been raising their concerns. The young person is understood to have been moved just recently.

They said: “The idea that young people come into care for their living situations, only to find these living situations are worse is outrageous.

“Staff are at their wits end. The violence in some of these places is outrageous. It’s a resources issue and financial issue. It’s almost child abuse in itself.”

A spokesman for the Care Inspectorate confirmed they were looking into the reports.

He said: “A concern has been raised with us about this service and we are considering all the information given to us carefully.

“Where we uphold a complaint, we publish the outcome on our website and outline what needs to improve.”

Read more: West Dunbartonshire social workers fear 'child tragedy'

A council spokeswoman said: “While it would be inappropriate to comment on any individual young person, our staff and managers are dedicated to providing caring, nurturing home environments for all looked after young people.

“Changes to our provision in recent months include moving away from shared rooms which, at times, may be used to keep sibling groups together.

“We continue to work positively with colleagues from the Care Inspectorate around safe staffing levels that reflect the needs of our young people.”

Meanwhile, the children and families team of social workers voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action over their staffing concerns.

The social workers voted 92.3 per cent for strike action and 100 per cent for action just short of a strike. The consultative ballot had a turnout of 87.8 per cent.

Unison representatives were set to meet council bosses on Tuesday and called for an immediate end to short staffing, unacceptable workloads, unallocated cases and unsuitable arrangements for access meetings.

The Reporter exclusively revealed earlier this year how the children and families workers have been left stretched since the merging of the Alexandria team into Aurora House in Clydebank.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON regional organiser, said: “Management must heed this crystal clear message from our members, and we will not hesitate to move to a formal industrial action ballot to keep our members safe. This is the reality of needless austerity in 2019, workers at breaking point and at-risk children unsupported.

“We have raised our concerns beyond West Dunbartonshire and welcome that Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, and Lorraine Gray, chief executive of the Scottish Social Services Council, have both confirmed they are raising the matter with the council and the health and social care partnership.

“It is now time for the council administration and management to act and ensure the safety of workers, children and families.”

Read more: Social workers in West Dunbartonshire could still walk out over concerns

But the council spokeswoman said: “We are extremely disappointed by the result of this ballot, as we have been working closely with staff and trade unions to address their concerns since they were first raised in January.

“A number of actions have already been implemented including supporting staff to work in additional locations across West Dunbartonshire, recruiting additional agency social workers while going through a formal recruitment process for replacements, allowing staff to carry leave over until June and paying staff for time off in lieu of more than 14 hours.

“We will continue to work towards achieving a positive resolution for staff and the families in our community.”

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