Social service departments were reprimanded by the chief inspector
of social services for “chasing performance indicators” instead of
improving frontline services, writes Frances
Chief inspector Denise Platt told delegates at the National
Social Services Conference: “Don’t slavishly pursue performance
indicators. If people are focusing on hitting a performance
indicator on April 1 they will hit it and duck under it.”
Platt, who launched the sixth annual report of joint
reviews, added that the way to improve services was to “capitalise
on the experience at the frontline and use the ideas of frontline
Joint reviews head John Bolton said “on the ground services do
not reflect what the performance indicators seem to suggest”.
Bolton emphasised that “getting the basics right” at the
frontline should be the priority. He said structural changes
“rarely deliver what is intended on their own”.
Graham Williams, chief social services inspector for Wales, said
local government reorganisation in Wales in the mid 90s “had a
horrendous impact, but we cannot keep using it as an excuse” for
poor services now.
Williams also warned against relying on structural change to
improve services. “Structures can enable or disable, but they do
not solve anything.”