Gwynedd council’s adult services are “too reliant” on
residential care, according to a joint review of its social
services by the Audit Commission and the National Assembly for
Wales, writes Jonathan Pearce.
Despite being praised for some high quality services and
attracting one of the highest levels of user satisfaction in
England and Wales, the report says the council lacks “sufficiently
robust arrangements” to ensure everyone receives the same high
standards of service. However, it has promising prospects for
further improvement, adds the report.
“Gwynedd has one of the highest levels of expenditure in Wales
on services for older people and the highest level of residential
care and insufficient community-based alternatives,” says the
report. “The council maintains 15 residential homes, all below
national standards; decisions to close some homes and change the
management arrangement of others need to be implemented.”
Following the criticisms, the council said the development of a
five-year improvement strategy had already begun and it would
continue to consult with residents and staff over the coming
months, as well as assess the costs and practicalities of adapting
buildings to meet the new standards and explore partnership-working
with the not-for-profit sector.
Councillor Pat Larsen, social services lead on Gwynedd
council’s board, said the report had emphasised the need for
shifting resources to help more people remain in their homes. “Our
responsibility, and indeed our commitment, is to continue to
improve our services, making them more flexible to meet the
changing needs of individuals,” she added.
Sue Mead, associate director of joint reviews, said Gwynedd had
a “good solid base” from which to improve. “It has shown an
openness to new ideas and a willingness to tackle some difficult
issues,” she added. “It deserves support in its efforts to deliver
more flexibility, choice and best value for the community it