Council's Social Services continues to support adults and children throughout the pandemic

The Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) has published its Assurance letter for Blaenau Gwent Council following an inspection that took place in May 2021 and its findings were welcomed by Executive today.

The purpose of the assurance check was to review how well the local authority’s social services continue to help and support adults and children throughout the pandemic, with a focus on safety and well-being.

The assurance check focussed on two main questions:

1. How well is the local authority discharging its statutory functions to keep people who need care and support and carers who need support, safe and promote their well-being during the pandemic?

2. What is the local authority doing to prevent the need for children to come into care; and are children returning home to their families quickly enough where safe to do so? 

Specific areas of positive feedback include:

• People we spoke with told us how the local authority had maintained safe contact with them throughout the pandemic. Where needed, direct safe face-to-face contact has continued. Many people spoke of staff going above and beyond.

• Evidence showed people’s views were sought and their voices heard.

• Most practitioners felt supported by colleagues and managers and regarded their workload as manageable. Staff morale was found to be good and most practitioners were positive about their experience of working for the local authority.

• The local authority has successfully implemented its safe Children Looked After (CLA) strategy, leading to positive outcomes for children within the care system.

• Staff spoke of the significance of the Support Change Team and My Support Team (MyST) who work intensively with families to prevent young people entering the care system,

• Prevention is an integral part of the strategy and within children’s services CIW found the commitment to developing Early Help and Prevention services is now fully evident across both children’s and adult services.

• The practice to establish whether people have mental capacity to make specific decisions and where necessary to make best interest decisions on their behalf was reflected in records and the sample of assessments seen were of a good quality.

• Safeguarding Team worked well with people from across the sector. CIW found evidence of good collaboration between social services, the police, and the third sector working directly with people to meet their safety outcomes.

• Young people who had left care spoke positively about the support they had received from their personal advisors. All felt the commitment of their personal advisors had supported them in their transition into adulthood.

The Council feels that the report was positive and a good reflection of the service. It will enable the department to plan for the future as spend, risk and performance is continuously reported on and provides a baseline of where the department is currently and where it needs to be in the future.

Councillor John Mason, Executive Member for Social Service commented:

"I am pleased that the CIW Assurance Check 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 wellbeing of families accessing our services in often difficult circumstances.

"The report also referred to our positive multi-agency approach and collaboration with commissioned service providers such as Public Health Wales. I look forward to building on these relationships in the future."