Social work services at Inverclyde Council have been starved of
resources and suffered inertia during management reorganisation, an
Audit Scotland report has found.
The Best Value review severely criticises the leadership,
management and internal processes of the council and the Local
Government Improvement Service has stepped in to help address the
Although the report highlights a number of successes in social
work, it found deficiencies in budgeting resulted in £1.4m of
social work money going unspent in 2003-4 and transferred to
balances. This became apparent only at the end of the financial
A review of management structure coincided, in October 2004, with
the chief executive taking over strategic responsibility for social
work as a result of the director of social work’s decision to
retire in March 2005. Some believed this risked a vacuum for
services being created.
It states: “There are concerns in the department that there is a
risk that services to vulnerable people could suffer while the
future shape, size and position of social work within the council’s
management structure have remained unclear over such a protracted
It criticised performance management, out-of-hours telephone and
homelessness services in the social work department, but praised
the level of care.
The council said it would address the issues raised in the report.