Con­cerns over coun­cil’s pro­vi­sion of child ser­vices

Western Mail - - NEWS -

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.”

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