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Bailout for county council child services?

Created on 23/11/2017 @ 20:00
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The Welsh Government is considering a package of financial support for Powys County Council to transform its Children’s Services which were slammed by a watchdog recently.

The council is one month into a three-month deadline to improve or face being taken over by ministers, after the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) report.

Welsh ministers said they were working on an "appropriate support package" with the authority and other bodies.
Last month's report said there was evidence of missed opportunities to safeguard children.

It stated: “The lack of assessment, intervention and support, together with poor follow up and oversight has and is placing children at considerable risk.”

In a joint written statement, Local Government Secretary Alun Davies and Children and Social Care Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said an improvement plan from the council was being considered.

“We expect to work with the local authority to strengthen the proposed actions and ensure the plan provides a realistic, long-term pathway to significantly improved and sustainable children's services in Powys,” they said.

Council Leader, Councillor Rosemarie Harris wrote to Welsh Government Ministers last week asking them to exercise their powers to provide statutory support to the council, using their powers under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

This week the Leader and Acting Chief Executive David Powell met the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public to discuss the request.

“It was a constructive meeting and work is now underway with the WLGA and partners to develop an appropriate support package to support our improvement work in response to the CSSIW inspection,” she said.

“We already have an improvement team with experts from key areas in place to support the service on its improvement journey. We have asked the Welsh Government to provide support to help deliver improvement.

“The council has submitted its improvement plan which is being reviewed by CSSIW and Welsh Government officials. We are determined to deliver improvements within the service and will provide regular information on our progress.”

The news was also welcomed by Assembly Member Russell George who said: “I know that the Powys County Council improvement team are already working closely with experts to deliver improvements within the service to provide assurances that children will be safeguarded.”

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