Agenda Item No. 4


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 1st December, 2014


Report of the Director of Social Services


Report on the Chief Inspector's Annual Performance Evaluation of the Vale of Glamorgan’s Social Services Department 2013-2014 


Purpose of the Report

1.         To update Scrutiny Committee on the Chief Inspector's Annual Performance Evaluation of the Vale of Glamorgan’s Social Services Department 2013-2014.


That Scrutiny Committee notes the key messages to emerge from the evaluation, including areas of progress and areas for improvement.

Reason for the Recommendation

To ensure that Members are kept informed about outcomes from independent evaluation of social services performance in the Vale of Glamorgan.



2.         In addition to their programme for inspecting regulated social care services and settings, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) inspects all local authorities regarding the way in which they deliver their statutory social services functions.  They check to see how these services:

·           meet the needs of people, improve their quality of life and promote their rights and well-being;

·           protect adults and children who are at risk of harm; and

·           continue work to improve and meet the changing needs of their communities.

3.         This inspection and review activity covers all aspects of social care within a local authority, adult and children's services.  It is informed by and helps to validate the annual self-assessment of services undertaken by Directors of Social Services in accordance with the Annual Council Reporting Framework (ACRF). 

4.         CSSIW monitors the work of local authorities through quarterly engagement meetings with senior managers, to discuss performance and service developments.  Inspectors also undertake site visits to places where services are being delivered, to see at first-hand what takes place and to talk with staff and people using services about their experiences.  They carry out a range of activities around strategic priorities including:

·           national and thematic reviews;

·           focused local authority inspections and improvement activity in response to specific  issues arising;

·           monitoring and reporting performance when local authorities are subject to intervention;

·           monitoring and reporting on the use of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) as required by regulations; and

·           monitoring and reporting on the Protection of Vulnerable Adults data collected by local authorities.

5.         CSSIW has now reviewed and analysed evidence from the 2013 -14 performance year in respect of social services in this Council.  As well as drawing on their own regulatory and other work, inspectors take into account the views of other auditors and inspectors.  The performance of each council is moderated to ensure a consistent, transparent and proportionate approach.  

6.         The report containing the overall evaluation of our local social services performance by CSSIW has been published on its web-site and is attached at Appendix 1.  It provides evidence about what inspectors identify as areas of progress and areas for development.  The outcome of the evaluation and review process will help to inform both the current national inspection plans and any local inspections and site visits for 2014 -15.  Inspectors will be attending Scrutiny Committee to present their findings.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.         The report outlines the visits and inspections undertaken by CSSIW during the year, which help to provide evidence for the evaluation.

         The National Review of Commissioning for Adult Social Care in Wales.

         The National Inspection of Safeguarding and Care Planning of Looked After Children and Care Leavers, who exhibit Vulnerable or Risky Behaviours.

         Site visit to the Families Achieving Change Together (FACT) service.

         Site visit to the Integrated Discharge Service.

         Meeting with the Vale 50+ forum.

         Meeting with independent domiciliary care providers in the Vale of Glamorgan.

         Observation of scrutiny committees.

         Quarterly engagement meetings with senior officers to review progress against areas identified in the 2012-13 ACRF evaluation letter.

8.         In their findings, inspectors described the Council as providing clear leadership and direction for all social services functions.  The report says that: "There are detailed plans in place to deal with areas where further change is needed... with no areas for improvement in this area of work." 

9.         In adult services, there is recognition of the work done by the Council to create a new integrated reablement service with the University Health Board in Barry Hospital and to complete the new Extra Care housing facility in Barry.  "The council’s integrated discharge service, operated in partnership with Cardiff Council and the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, is innovative in its scope and intention and when fully implemented should become an area of good practice."

10.      In children’s services, the Council is described as having made significant improvement in its Youth Offending work.  There has been an increase in the number of foster carers and good performance in safeguarding children.  In family support services, surveys showed "the increased confidence of children, young people and their families, coupled with positive changes to their circumstances." 

11.      There are areas for improvement.  Members will be aware of them from previous reports brought to this Committee in respect of issues such as: reducing the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants; reviewing arrangements for the review of care plans for adult service users; increasing the percentage of young people formerly looked after who are known to be engaged in education, training or employment; managing demand for family support services.  Plans are already in place for tackling these problems, which pose challenges for all local authorities.  We will strive to deliver best practice and benchmark the progress made, wherever possible.

12.      The report gives proper credit to our range of service providers who help us to meet people’s needs and expectations consistently.  Staff within social services are described as relatively experienced and well qualified and the workforce as stable. Members of Scrutiny Committee can be reassured by this positive endorsement from the Inspectorate as we face up to the immense challenges that lie ahead for social services and for the Council.  The findings show that we are building on solid foundations and that we have clear plans for further innovation, especially through collaborative working with other key partners.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.      There are no resource implications as a direct consequence of this report.  However, implementing the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 in accordance with new regulations, guidance and codes sets a whole range of new challenges.  These will have to be met at a time of severe financial restraints for local government and social services.  It will be difficult to maintain service levels and quality in this context so that we continue to meet the needs of vulnerable service users and carers.  However, the annual evaluation process undertaken by CSSIW has consistently described the Council as having a good track record for managing its resources well.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications

14.      There are no legal implications as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.      There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.      Social care service planning and delivery must take into account "Sustainable Social Services for Wales – A Framework for Action", which is the Welsh Government's ten-year strategy and the "More Than Just Words" framework, designed to promote a culture and workforce where language choice is offered actively as part of the process of understanding individuals and their needs.  The "South East Wales Improvement Collaborative" (SEWIC) has agreed to monitor progress made by its constituent local authorities in delivering the strategy and this is noted in the performance evaluation.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.      Social services meets the following corporate objectives:

·           "To make the Vale a safe, healthy and enjoyable place in which individuals, children and families can live their lives to the full"; and

·           "To manage the Council's workforce, money and assets efficiently and effectively in order to maximise its ability to achieve it service aims."

Policy Framework and Budget

18.      These are matters for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Background Papers

20.      None.

Contact Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services