The Welsh assembly government has intervened in Swansea Council’s children’s services to correct performance failings.
The order to set up an external intervention board, made yesterday by deputy social services minister Gwenda Thomas, is the first time a Welsh council’s children’s services has faced intervention.
Under the plan, made using powers under section 84 of the Children Act 1989, the board will have powers to require the authority to take all reasonable steps to fulfil its responsibilities, while Thomas said it should also “provide robust external challenge”.
Earlier this month, Thomas said she was considering intervention after the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales found the authority had made insufficient progress since a damning 2007 inspection report.
The 2007 report rated safeguarding, assessments and care management in children’s services as poor.
Thomas gave the authority two weeks to respond to the proposal for intervention. She said yesterday that the authority had told her it was disappointed by her decision to consider an intervention board but would work with it.
The board will be chaired by someone from outside local government and include a current or past director of social services, head of children’s social services, a council chief executive and an elected member with experience of social services.
She said: “I wish to impress upon the City and County of Swansea that I consider the making of this order, the first time that such an order is issued in respect of a local authority in Wales, and the establishment of the intervention board, to be a very serious step to take.”
She said she would ask CSSIW to inspect Swansea again by January 2010 at the latest.
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