Critical review prompts radical rethink of Cardiff service provision

Cardiff Council has proposed radical changes in the culture,
organisation and delivery of social services in the wake of last
year’s damning joint review.

Key recommendations in a draft white paper published last week
include the appointment of a children’s champion for Cardiff
similar to the existing Welsh children’s commissioner, and an
independent commissioner for adults.

Front-line social workers would also be placed in primary schools
and doctors’ surgeries to improve access to services.

The white paper follows a wide-ranging consultation exercise and is
due to be debated at a council meeting later this month.

It warns that there will need to be an uncompromising commitment to
shifting the focus of service delivery away from the service
provider in favour of the service user.

“No one should be under any illusions about what this will mean in
practice,” it says. “Difficult decisions will need to be taken. New
service delivery arrangements involving closer relationships
between public, private, independent and voluntary sector
organisations will need to be introduced.”

The highly critical inspection, which placed Cardiff social
services department among the worst three in England and Wales, has
also prompted a mass exodus of senior managers at the council.

Former director of social services Jeff Hobden is the third senior
manager to announce his departure in recent weeks. He follows head
of children’s services Keith Thompson and families and community
care services lead Gareth Williams.

The council said there had been a mutually agreeable handover of
Hobden’s management responsibilities and that a team of private
consultants, including ex-social services directors, would have
interim management responsibility.

– How Best to Care: The Future of Social Services in

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