THE operator of a college for people with learning disabilities in Stourbridge has been ordered to pay £22,721.04 after pleading guilty to causing a resident avoidable harm.

Transform Residential Limited, which ran Glasshouse College at Amblecote, was fined £14,000 at Staines Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday May 31).

It was also ordered to pay a £181 victim surcharge and £8,540.04 costs to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which brought the prosecution following the tragic death of student Jake Baker, aged 18.

The college, now run by Ruskin Mill Trust Limited, is a specialist residential college and a shared lives service for young people with autism, learning disabilities or mental health needs.

Jake, who had learning and behavioural disabilities and type 1 diabetes which was managed with insulin, had been a resident at the college since November 18, 2019.

Previously he’d lived at Ruskin Mill College, near Stroud in the Cotswolds, run by the same provider.

When Jake moved to Glasshouse College, a diabetes control support plan was handed over from Ruskin Mill College, which highlighted that he needed staff support to manage his diabetes and supervision when managing his blood sugar levels.

In December 2019, arrangements were made for Jake to visit his family from December 24 to 30, which was the longest time he had stayed with them overnight.

Staff didn’t provide any information to his family about how to manage Jake’s diabetes and they had no experience or training in assisting him to manage his condition.

On December 30, 2019, Jake became unwell and couldn’t travel back to Glasshouse College as planned. Then on December 31, Jake’s family contacted staff to inform them Jake had died that morning.

The cause of death was found to be ketoacidosis - a condition caused due to diabetes, fasting or starvation or alcohol misuse.

And the college was found to have failed to put adequate systems and processes in place to ensure a safe handover of Jake’s care to his family during his stay – including a failure to carry out a risk assessment, put in place a care plan or hand over any information regarding his diabetes care.

Ros Sanderson, CQC’s deputy director of enforcement, said after the sentencing: “Our sympathies are with those affected by the tragic, avoidable, passing of Jake.

“He had the right to be kept safe while under the care of Transform Residential Limited, even when on overnight visits, but in this case the provider failed in their legal duty to protect him from harm.

“Staff should have ensured all relevant risk assessments and information was handed over to Jake’s family so he could visit them in a safe and supported way. However, due to the lack of adequate systems in place sadly this didn’t happen, and the provider let Jake and his family down.

“The majority of care providers do an excellent job. However, when a provider puts people in its care at risk of harm, we will take action to hold them to account and to protect people.

“This fine is not representative of the value of Jake’s life, and we hope this prosecution brings some closure to his friends and family, and reassures them that his death was not their fault.

“This prosecution should also act as a serious reminder to all care providers, to always ensure people’s safety and manage risks to their wellbeing.”

The Glasshouse College and Ruskin Mill College have been contacted for comment on the case.