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Social Services prepared for re-inspection

Created on 28/06/2020 @ 12:53
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Social Services in Powys need to be prepared for a re-inspection by Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) as lockdown eases.

Work in both children’s and adult’s social services is looking to restart in areas that had been mothballed because of the lockdown.

Councillors on the Health and Care scrutiny committee were told that there are still 200 staff redeployed from other parts of the authority, still working for social services.

Portfolio holder for Children’s Social Services, Councillor Rachel Powell, said: “Improvement work needs to be reviewed to ensure we are inspection ready, and prepare for the new normal and the impact it will have on the children, young people and families. The service is under a lot of pressure and will be so for quite some time.”

Cllr Powell told the committee that all services across the council have come up with short term recovery documents, including re-starting some services suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis.

These documents are looked at by the current PCC emergency gold and silver command structures.

Cllr Powell added that parts of Adult services will not be re-started yet.

“They are still reliant on the redeployment of some 200 staff to deliver our mission critical services,” said Cllr Powell.

“In relation to our day services there are extreme challenges with managing social distancing. A number of users will be high risk or in the shielding category.”

Cllr Powell added that talks would be held with people who use their services to see how they can be supported in a “different way”.

Monitoring Coronavirus infection rates across Powys and work on plans to respond to a further surge will continue. They will also have to consider added winter flu pressures as part of their calculations.

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) said that they will resume their inspection work once the pandemic is over.

In October 2017, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), produced a damning inspection report of the Children’s services department, which revealed missed opportunities to safeguard children, poor risk assessment and serious performance issues with front line services.

In January 2018, the CIW gave the council a warning letter after a follow up visit to the authority. Following the report in 2018, its budget has doubled.

In May 2018, a new director of social services Ali Bulman was appointed and October 2018, a new head of children’s Services, Jan Coles was appointed.

A further inspection of children’s services took place in October 2018 that highlighted that some improvements had been noted but there was still “much to do”. Adult Services has also a number of monitoring visits from the CIW.

An Assurance and Improvement Board, that reports to the Welsh Government, has been set up to oversee social service improvement. This board also oversees the education service.

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

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