Monday, 7 September 2009

Social Services Reports Presented To Cabinet

There is ‘clear momentum towards improvement’ within Pembrokeshire County Council’s social services department, according to the Deputy Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate for Wales.

Presenting a report on the department to the Council’s cabinet today (Tuesday) Richard Tebboth said there was a ‘change in culture’.

"We must not under-estimate what still has to be done, but we can see that momentum is there and should continue," he said.

Three external evaluation reports regarding social services in Pembrokeshire were presented to the Cabinet.

The reports are:

  • Social Services Inspectorate for Wales Performance Evaluation of Pembrokeshire County Council,
  • Social Services Inspectorate for Wales: Inspection of Services for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults, Pembrokeshire County Council
  • Audit Commission in Wales: Joint Review Follow-Up, Pembrokeshire County Council

The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Councillor John Davies, welcomed the reports as ‘on the whole, very positive and very constructive’.

"I’m glad to see that positive progress is being made on many fronts on social services in Pembrokeshire, while recognising that there are many challenges," he said.

He added that two-thirds of local authorities in Wales are either at the same position or doing less well than Pembrokeshire.

"This is a period of development and transition for social services in Pembrokeshire," he said. "The department is following a three-year action plan and these reports measure our progress against that plan."

He said there had been several positive developments in the department during 2004.

  • Significant progress has been made regarding the recruitment and retention of social workers, occupational therapists and managers, against a difficult background of supply and demand in Wales and the UK as a whole.
  • An enhanced Emergency Duty Social Work Team commenced duties on the 1st September 2004. Within two months this team will be based and working with the Out of Hours medical team managed by the Local Health Board.
  • The Health and Social care teams in the County Council and the NHS Trust who are responsible for hospital discharge have been brought together, which means that there have been no delayed transfers of care for social reasons since May 2004. "This is a major achievement which means that there has been no cases of bed-blocking in Pembrokeshire for social reasons for several months," said Councillor Davies.
  • The Council has adopted and implemented revised Eligibility Criteria for Community Care services which meet the requirements of the Unified Assessment Process. "The revised criteria for services will ensure that delays for assessments for both children’s and adult services are kept to a minimum, managed appropriately and monitored, through CareFirst, by senior managers," said Councillor Davies.
  • Significant progress has been made on implementing the recommendations from the Inspection of Services for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults.
  • The Directorate is actively engaged in the development of a strong corporate and multi-agency strategic and operational approach to delivering local services. This is recognised in the SSIW evaluation report.
  • Additional Occupational Therapists have been employed to help ease long waiting times and bottlenecks within the aids and equipment service.
  • Cabinet members are meeting with front line teams, which has been acknowledged as good practice by the SSIW.

"The capacity to ensure improved performance will be enhanced by the fact that the Quality Assurance Team now has the full complement of Reviewing Officers. The three fieldwork teams now have permanent dedicated managers," said Councillor Davies.

"However, the performance in terms of reviews for Looked After Children continues to need improvement if they are to be delivered strictly within the required timescale, as does full compliance with policies and procedures which has also been identified as requiring further attention."


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