Concerns over council’s provision of child services
POWYS’ opposition leaders have welcomed the positive comments made about under-fire Children’s Services in a care inspectors’ report.
But they point out that despite millions of pounds being spent on Children’s Services, there are still serious concerns.
The Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), formerly known as the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), produced a damning inspection report into PCC Children’s Services department in October 2017, which revealed missed opportunities to safeguard children, poor risk assessment and serious performance issues with front line services. Last January the CIW gave the council a warning letter after a follow-up visit.
A total of £12m has now been pumped into the department to try to turn things around.
A further inspection in October noted improvements but pointed out that there are still significant concerns.
Liberal Democrat and Green group leader Councillor James Gibson-Watt said: “There are still areas where significant improvement is needed before we can say that the council is providing a full and safe range of services for children and young people in Powys.
“It is sobering to see that we have only reached a ‘glass halffull’ position after the spending on the service has been effectively doubled in the past two years.”
Cllr Gibson-Watt said he was concerned CIW had identified a continued lack of collaborative working with partner agencies like the Powys Teaching Health Board and even other council departments.
Labour group leader Councillor Mathew Dorrance said: “The council has funnelled a significant amount of money into Children’s Services to drive up standards and ensure children in Powys are safe. So I welcome the inspection report which shows the council is now making progress in improving the service.
“It is clear to me that the hard work of front line staff is driving the improvements and they deserve our thanks and support.
“However, the council must be honest about the fact that after ploughing millions of pounds into the service, the inspectors have said there are still areas within Children’s Services where they have ‘serious concerns’.
“The council must, as a priority, take action to put right the problems identified by inspectors.”
Plaid Cymru group leader Councillor Elwyn Vaughan said: “Of particular concern is the fact that these issues and pressures have continued despite the fact that the department has had up to 12 more staff than would usually be the case, which does raise the question how things would have been were that not the case.”