Agenda Item No. 4


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 30th November, 2015


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 2014-2015


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 2014-2015.


  1. That Scrutiny Committee notes the key messages to emerge from the evaluation, including areas of progress and areas for improvement.
  2. That Scrutiny Committee refers this report to Cabinet for information.

Reasons for the Recommendations

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


  1. 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 well 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.
  1. This inspection and review activity covers all aspects of social care within a local authority, i.e. 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).
  2. 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;
  • 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.
  1. CSSIW has now reviewed and analysed evidence from the 2014/15 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. To ensure a consistent, transparent and proportionate approach across all local authorities, there is a moderation process.
  2. The report containing the overall evaluation of our local social services performance by CSSIW has been published on its web-site and it 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 2015/16. Inspectors will be attending Scrutiny Committee to present their findings.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The report outlines the visits and inspections undertaken by CSSIW during the year, which provide some of the evidence for the evaluation.
  • site visit to integrated mental health service for adults of a working age;
  • attendance at the domiciliary care providers forum;
  • observation of three Social Care and Health scrutiny committee meetings;
  • inspection of regulated services;                
  • review of the in house Fostering Service; and
  • engagement with operational managers and senior officers of the Council throughout the year to review social services performance and discuss progress with the areas for improvement identified in last year's performance evaluation.
  1. In their findings, inspectors described the Council as continuing to be strong in leading on partnerships providing integrated health and social care services. One of the council's key priorities is to support independence and reablement, wherever possible. Early intervention and preventative strategies in adult and children's services remain a priority and the Inspectorate found good evidence to show progress.
  2. In adult services, the focus on the locality reconfiguration was acknowledged. The remodelling of services and partnership working is creating a fully integrated health and social care service that supports people to remain independent. CSSIW also reported that people who have received services from the Community Mental Health teams in the Vale of Glamorgan "value them and had seen a clear improvement in mental health services during the reporting period".
  3. The report also acknowledged the implementation of the integrated discharge policy, which has been an improvement priority from the previous reporting period. CSSIW reported that the extension of the reablement service and the development of the Customer Contact Centre (CCC) contributed to improved outcomes for people with fewer people now experiencing a delay in hospital discharge.
  4. Children and Young People services consistently achieve many statutory targets and secure positive outcomes for looked after children. In children's services, key indicators of performance continue to be largely met. Nearly 90% of initial assessments are completed within the allocated 7 days and nearly 95% of core assessments within the allocated 35 days, both above the national average. Performance in holding initial child protection reviews, core group meetings and child protection reviews is strong at nearly 100% in all three areas; again performance is above the national average. The percentage of looked after children who had three or more placements has decreased and it is below the Wales average. The council exceeded its recruitment target for foster carers. As the Council continues to improve permanency opportunities for looked after children, they are more likely to be in a stable placement in the Vale than in comparable local authorities. 97% of looked after children now have Personal Education Plan in place soon after admission. More care leavers are engaged in education, training or employment.
  5. The report sets out the considerable progress made in the areas for improvement identified in last year's evaluation. There are new areas for improvement. Adult services are required to improve rates of care plan reviews as performance has declined since the last reporting period. This has been acknowledged within the locality reconfiguration with the intention to set up a dedicated review team as a function of the longer term care services. This will be set up by the end of the financial year.
  6. There are several improvement priorities that centre on services provided by the Community Mental Health Team. These include:
  • the promotion of Direct Payments for service users;
  • the need to identify a solution with Cardiff and Vale UHB regarding the single point of access; and
  • progression of the joint commissioning strategy for Mental Health services across City of Cardiff Council and the Cardiff and Vale UHB.
  1. Children's services need to improve the rates of statutory health assessments for looked after children. CSSIW have recommended that the Authority works with the UHB to consider ways in "which the therapeutic needs of looked after children and care leavers can be met effectively and efficiently across health and social care". Members of the Committee will remember that Rose Whittle (Commissioning Lead for the Cardiff and Vale CAMHS) and Dr. Claire Ball (regional Clinical Director for CAMHS) presented an update on 8th September this year
  2. Within the report, the Chief Inspector describes a significant programme of service reform that is delivering joined up, community-based social care and health services. Good leadership and clear direction within the Council continue to produce improved outcomes and wellbeing for people who need care and support.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. 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. The annual evaluation process undertaken by CSSIW has consistently described the Council as having a good track record for managing its resources well and continuing to achieve savings. They have acknowledged that this is becoming more challenging and raised concerns that it may not be achievable, given the increase in the complexity and demographics within the Vale of Glamorgan.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no implications of sustainability or climate change as a consequence of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. 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. .

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. 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

  1. These are matters for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Social Care and Health.

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services