Review finds variable quality at Conwy

Weak management of cases and lack of stated standards has been
blamed for a variable quality of social services at Conwy council
in North Wales, writes David Brown.

Some people are served well but the prospects for improvement
are uncertain, said the report of a joint review by the Audit
Commission and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales.

Services were found to be too ‘buildings-based’, with services
concentrated in council offices rather than in the community. They
are also not sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of

But overall, users valued the services and spoke positively
about the work and commitment of staff.

The inspectors said that Conwy was effectively tackling the
“difficult inheritance” it received at its inception in 1996.

Over the past year there had been significant success in
organising the delivery of quality services, and the development of
good relations with partner agencies.

Bethan Jones, director of social services, has asked for
additional staff and improved technology, and promised better
promotion of independent living and improved access to information
on services.

Sue Mead, assistant review director for joint reviews, said:
“Political and corporate leadership needs to back changes underway
in social services.”

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