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Council adults services "must improve" says watchdog

Created on 01/05/2018 @ 16:16
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Powys County Council adult services "must improve" a government watchdog has said.

The Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) has published its report into Powys' adult social services which says more has to be done, although the council has made efforts to improve services.

The report states:

 - Inspectors saw evidence some people received good care and support but this was not consistent. 

 - Some people faced significant delays in being assessed for care and support and in receiving a service. Significant improvement is required.

 - There was good co-operation between frontline health and social care staff and a range of voluntary sector and community groups.

 - Urgent safeguarding referrals were dealt with swiftly and effectively. 

 - There was an unacceptable backlog of safeguarding work at screening and enquiry stages.

 - Inspectors noted the commitment of staff who have shown professionalism whilst coping with many changes and depleted resources.

The existence of an Improvement and Assurance Board, which is independently chaired and includes external advisors to secure improvement across social services, and the appointment of a permanent Director of Social Services, should now drive the required improvements and ensure positive outcomes for adults in need of care or support and their carers in Powys. 

CIW acknowledged Powys County Council had developed an improvement plan prior to the inspection. Inspectors were pleased to note senior managers accepted the findings and have committed themselves to achieving the necessary improvements.

Chief Inspector Gillian Baranski said: “Although our inspection has identified significant areas for improvement, the local authority has taken positive steps to improve and stabilise the service, including the appointment of a permanent Director of Social Services. 

“With the support of the Improvement and Assurance Board, we expect to see swift improvement across social services to ensure positive outcomes for people with care and support needs, their families and carers in Powys. 

“We will continue to monitor progress in implementing Powys’ improvement plans for both children’s and now adult services.”

 Findings from the report published today (May 1), which have been fully accepted by Powys County Council, will form a key part of the council’s 2017-2020 adult services improvement programme.
The programme has already been boosted by increased investment of £6.5m over the next 12 months.
Recommendations in the report to improve adult services will be implemented as soon as possible, the council said, with the new Acting Chief Executive and the new Director of Social Services playing key roles in the improvement programme, alongside key partners. 
Council Leader, Councillor Rosemarie Harris said; “We have had in place for some time a comprehensive improvement plan for adult services and provided significant resources to help make the necessary changes. This has been acknowledged by the inspectors.
“We recognise that there are improvements to be made and we are confident the work is well under way. We have just put in place an Improvement and Assurance Board, with increased support from Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association. This will perform an independent role, monitoring our progress in delivering reform and also providing new ideas about how to sustain the positive changes being made.” 
Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Councillor Stephen Hayes said; “The report is fully accepted and its recommendations are fair. The inspectors have provided valuable feedback about the areas where improvement is needed, which will be used to support our plans for strengthening services.
“We will ensure the whole council is focussed addressing urgently those areas where significant concerns have been raised. Progress is being made and will continue at pace.” 
The report follows a comprehensive and detailed inspection of front line services and safeguarding in January. The inspection also evaluated the quality of leadership, management and governance arrangements at the council. The report acknowledges that staff are enthusiastic, committed and enjoy working for Powys.
Fully supported by the Cabinet, Management Team and Corporate Support Services, the improvement plan was prepared in advance of the inspection report. It identified the financial investment needed to strengthen reform of services and the council is committed to investing up to £6.5 million over the next 12 months.
The investment will increase the numbers of frontline care staff and provide Powys People Direct - the single point of access to services – with more resources.

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