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Crunch meeting on children's services

Created on 15/09/2020 @ 07:18
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The hard work and effort over the last couple of years in trying to improve what was the failing Children’s Services in 2017 will go under the microscope next month.

At a meeting of Powys County Council's Health and Care Scrutiny Committee, Director of Social Services, Ali Bulman, told councillors that an “Improvement Conference” with Care Inspectorate Wales would take place on 9 October.

The Improvement Conference is believed to be the first one to happen in Wales and CIW inspectors will quiz staff on what structures and improvements the service has now put in place in their “journey to improvement”.

Ms Bulman, said: “It will be virtual online conference which will be chaired by CIW and we get the opportunity to answer questions or queries that they have.

“It’s quite intense at the moment on top of maintaining our services during a global pandemic.

“Hopefully we’ll be prepared.”

Cllr Amanda Jenner asked when they could expect feedback from the CIW?

Ms Bulman, replied: “I’m not sure whether an improvement conference has happened anywhere else yet.

“I think we’re the first to have it, and I’m not sure what happens after that, whether we get a letter or a more detailed report.

“It’s going to be the outcome of all the hard work we’ve done over the last couple of years, hopefully CIW will see that it’s enough.”

Adult social care portfolio holder Cllr Myfanwy Alexander said that she was impressed with the response from exhausted staff who had been working flat out during the Covid-19 pandemic

“They have simply rolled their sleeves up and said, right we know how to get our ducks in a row for this and we’ll give it our best shot,” said Cllr Alexander.

Committee chairman, Cllr Gwilym Williams added: “The report will come to us at a future date, good luck.”

In October 2017, CIW produced a damning inspection report into PCC Children’s Services department, which revealed missed opportunities to safeguard children, poor risk assessment and serious performance issues with front line services.

In the wake of the critical report, a new director of Social Services, Ali Bulman, and a head of Children’s Services, Jan Coles, were appointed.

After a follow up inspection in October 2018, Children’s Services were told by CIW that they still had “serious concerns” but some improvements were acknowledged.

In July 2020, it was announced that the Improvement and Assurance Board, set up in March 2018, which monitored progress and reported to the Welsh Government, would be replaced this autumn by several internal improvement boards.

This followed a report by a Welsh Government advisor that PCC could now, “drive its own improvement."
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