The Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) has published its inspection report for Blaenau Gwent Council following an inspection that took place in February and March 2018. The Inspectors looked at the effectiveness of local authority services and arrangements to help and protect children and their families. The overall performance of the Council was positive but there is an acknowledgment of the significant challenges facing the Council in delivering the service at a time of financial and resource pressures.
Specific areas of positive feedback include:
- The report found that the Council has a committed workforce who are responding to an increasing workload both in terms of complexity and volume. The Council’s self-assessment described the current rate of increase in looked after children numbers as unsustainable from a workforce and budgetary position. This means that the demand for our resources is outstripping supply which inevitably puts pressure on the service.
- The local authority has discharged its leadership and corporate parenting roles and responsibilities and promoted the stability, safety and well-being and safety of looked after children and care leavers. The Council has a stable management group that staff regarded as approachable and supportive. We found high aspirations for looked after children was generally shared by partner agencies.
- Children, young people and families experienced timely interventions through access to appropriate information, advice and, where appropriate, assessment of need for care and support.
- The Council demonstrated it values and empowered children, young people and their families to have an effective voice and to engage meaningfully in assessments, decisions and plans.
- Children and young people were protected through effective application of multi-agency safeguarding and child protection thresholds.
- Plans to make permanent arrangements for children and young people were effectively and regularly reviewed by Independent Reviewing Officers.
- CIW found examples of children and young people benefiting from living in safe and stable placements that met their needs.
- The Council worked well with partners and acted as a reasonable parent to ensure young people preparing to leave or who had left care, received effective support and help to assist them make a successful transition to adulthood.
The Council feels it is a balanced report with areas of good practice and a number of areas identified for development. The Council is fully committed to dealing with any inconsistencies in approach to service delivery and to taking the appropriate actions to address and improve these areas.
Councillor John Mason, Executive Member for Social Service commented:
‘I am pleased that the CIW annual report recognises the hard work and commitment of our workforce at a time of unprecedented demand for their services. Despite the financial and resource pressures, the team always focuses on the stability; safety and well-being of looked after children, care leavers and their families in often difficult circumstances. There are areas where we can improve and we look forward to further engagement with CIW to address the specific issues brought to our attention.’