A SUPPORT service for some of the most vulnerable people in the Borders has been slammed by the government's watchdog body.

Streets Ahead is responsible for the care of 40 adults - many requiring 24-hour care - from its local office.

But during a recent visit by the Care Inspectorate a catalogue of failings were uncovered.

They found unsuitable staff who hadn't been background checked, serious incidents not being recorded, and risky medication procedures.

The quality of care, staffing and management were all branded 'weak' by the concerned inspectors.

Following the unannounced inspection on March 9, bosses at Streets Ahead have now been handed a total of 12 improvement requirements to be implemented over the coming weeks.

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: "We identified a serious concern during our inspection that we considered the service needed to take action on immediately.

"We informed the service straight away, and also through a letter outlining our concerns detailing the action we required them to take.

"We found that some staff had not been employed in the safest way and the service had not ensured that they were suitable to work with vulnerable people.

"We asked the service to immediately put in place measures to reduce the risk and to carry out essential checks on these staff."

Streets Ahead provides support to people in their own homes in Duns, Eyemouth, Berwick, Jedburgh, Peebles, Galashiels and Earlston, as well as an out of hours on call service.

It has been operating in the Borders for around 30 years.

Previous inspections in recent years had led to gradings of either 'good' or 'very good'.

But last month's visit found major problems.

Streets Ahead trustees, who are chaired by former council social work manager Tricia Hunter, have now been issued with five requirements to improve the quality of care - including a review of medication procedures and risk assessments, updating personal plans, and improving the welfare of service users.

They have also been given four requirements for improving staffing, which include making proper background checks during recruitment, improving training and providing supervision.

A further three requirements have been issued for improving the quality of management and leadership.

The spokesperson added: "Significant incidents were often not recorded, passed on or followed up.

"We found that none of the senior staff were registered with the Scottish Social Services Council, as required.

"Many people had complex health and support needs that require a high level of support in most areas of their daily lives. Support plans did not contain adequate, up to date information on how to support them to meet their needs in a safe way.

"We saw that some service users were at risk if they were not supported in the right way, for example, to eat and drink, take their medication, to mobilise or when they became anxious."

Inspectors found that none of the six recommendations for minor improvements, made during an earlier inspection, had been met.

Bosses from the region's Disability Service have drafted in help for the struggling service.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders explained: “The Health and Social Care Partnership Learning Disability Service has been working alongside Streets Ahead to improve the quality of services provided to people with a learning disability across the Borders.

"Additional support has been directly provided to Streets Ahead to ensure that people using the service are provided with appropriate support and we are actively working with the service to ensure that there is the capacity to make and embed the necessary improvements.

“We have had the full cooperation of the Streets Ahead board in addressing the issues highlighted within the Care Inspectorate report and we will continue to closely monitor the quality of the care provided.”