Agenda Item No. 5

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 9th October, 2018

 

Report of the Director of Social Services

 

Care Inspectorate Wales: Inspection of Children's Services 2018

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To update Scrutiny Committee on the Care Inspectorate Wales' (CIW) Inspection of Vale of Glamorgan Children's Services during 2018.

Recommendation

That Scrutiny Committee considers the key messages to emerge from the Inspection, including areas of progress and areas for development.

Reason for the Recommendation

To ensure that Members are kept informed about outcomes from CIW's Inspection of Children's Services in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Background

  1. In addition to their programme for inspecting regulated social care services and settings, CIW inspects all Local Authorities regarding the way in which they deliver their statutory social services functions. 
  2. CIW has now reviewed and analysed evidence from the 2018 Inspection in respect of Children's Services in this Council.  As well as drawing on their own regulatory and other work, Inspectors took into account the views of staff from within Children's Services together with staff from across the Council, partner agencies, service users, Cabinet and Scrutiny Members.
  3. The Inspection Report containing the overall evaluation of Children's Services has been published on its web-site and it is attached at Appendix 1.  It provides evidence about what the Inspectors identify as areas of progress and areas for development. 

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. In their findings, the Inspectors report positive progress in a number of key areas. 
  • Motivated frontline staff who report job satisfaction, good provision of training and good management support at all levels including regular supervision.
  • Good corporate support for Children's Services including from Elected Members.
  • A clear commitment to collaborative working across the different departments within the Local Authority to provide Children's Services.
  • A position of strength in further developing its service to children and families linked to good corporate support, motivated staff and service development.
  • Social work staff who knew children's circumstances well and regularly visited.
  • A robust system of multi-agency panels ensuing consistent and effective decision making about placements and permanency planning.
  • Legal services providing good support in decision making and Court proceedings.
  • Collaborative work with a neighbouring authority to increase the number of fostering placements.
  • Work with a provider of residential care to place more children closer to home.
  • Strong partnership working is improving outcomes for young people, including good practice in multi-agency support provided to care leavers and homeless people.
  • Care leavers who were very positive about the help they receive from personal advisors.
  • Children being protected by prompt safeguarding responses and timely assessments.
  1. The following were identified by the Inspectors as areas for development and these have been considered by the Local Authority in its development of its Action Plan, attached at Appendix 2:

Leadership, management and governance

  • There is a need for further embedding of the principles of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (SS&WBA) into social work practice.
  • Senior managers are aware of the priority to reproduce a range of performance management information to assist staff and managers to deliver timely and effective services following the implementation of Wales Community Care Information System (WCCIS).
  • Further work is required to develop a more comprehensive quality assurance system that incorporates specific tasks for managers.
  • Social work practitioners would benefit from a review of the current operationalisation of the electronic recording system and from further training to support its use.
  • The Local Authority should continue the prioritisation of filling vacant posts by recruitment exercises and monitoring reasons for leaving.

Access arrangements: information, advice and assistance

  • A review of referrals where previous contacts or referrals have been received would be beneficial to ensure decision making is appropriately robust.

Assessment

  • Assessments must take into account all available information from previous contacts and incorporate any risks.
  • Practitioners should explicitly seek the views of children seen alone, where appropriate, and fully outline these in assessments.

Care and support and pathway planning

  • The Local Authority will wish to ensure proportionate recording including rationale for decisions and content of visits to children and the incorporation of risk assessment and management plans into care and support plans.
  • Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) caseloads should be reviewed and IROs should prioritise speaking with children prior to review meetings.
  • The Local Authority should ensure relevant children are offered advocates and independent visitors.
  • Out of area placement panels should be undertaken in compliance with regulations.

Safeguarding

  • Practice should be developed in co productive working with children and families; considering risks, strengths, barriers and toward agreed outcomes where possible.
  • There should be regular review of safeguarding performance information by the safeguarding unit.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no resource implications as a direct consequence of this report. 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The findings place an emphasis on the need to ensure a sustainable workforce to enable the delivery of quality services to children and their families.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications

  1. The Inspection considered the compliance of the Local Authority with the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. Children and Young People Services work with children who may be involved in crime and disorder.  Assessments under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act seek to identify needs, risks, strengths and barriers, with a focus on achieving identified outcomes.  Where children are offending, or at risk of offending, the Youth Offending Service work closely with Children's Services and relevant partners.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The Inspection was underpinned by the eight well-being statements and associated well-being outcomes as outlined in the Welsh Government's National Outcomes Framework for People who need Care and Support and for Carers who need Support (March 2016).  The self-assessment prepared by the Local Authority considered its Welsh Language obligations.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Social Services meets the following corporate objectives:

Well-being Outcome 4: An Active and Healthy Vale, Objective 8: Safeguarding those who are vulnerable and promoting independent living.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. These are matters for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. There are no matters in this report which relate to an individual ward.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Healthy Living and Social Care

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Rachel Evans, Head of Children and Young People Services

Officers Consulted

All Council Departments who work with Children and Young People Services were engaged in the Inspection and where the areas of development dictate, Council Departments have been involved in the development of the Action Plan.

Responsible Officer

Lance Carver, Director of Social Services.