Welsh social services inspector highlights need to improve partnerships

CSSIW annual report also shows fall in percentage of high-risk care settings

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Welsh social services need to do more to improve the education of children in care and cement partnership, according to the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).

The 2012/13 annual report of chief inspector Imelda Richardson says that while permanency planning for looked-after children had “stabilised”, the schooling of children in care remained an issue.

“It is of concern that fewer than half of looked-after children achieved their core subject indicators at Key Stage 2 and less than one third achieved at Key Stage 3,” says the report, which also noted that Wales continues to have a higher proportion of looked-after children than England.

Richardson’s report also said that CSSIW inspections had found that partnership working was more operational than strategic and that this mean that such cooperation was not sustainable. It also noted that Wales continues to lag behind the rest of the UK in the use of direct payments.

However the report did find evidence that Welsh social services are increasing their focus on early intervention and preventative services for both adults and children. “It is important that his continues even in the fact of budget pressures,” says the report.

The annual report also shows that the proportion of care settings that the CSSIW considers to be high risk, due to factors such as safeguarding concerns, has fallen steadily since 2011.

In 2011 11.5% of older adult care homes were deemed high risk but in 2013 this had dropped to 8.2%. In the same period the percentage of high risk children’s homes fell from 20% to 5.7% while the figure for children’s day care went from 3.2% to 0.7%.

However risk in younger adult care homes has remained largely unchanged. In 2011 4.9% were deemed high risk, in 2012 it was 4.3% and in 2013 it was 4.4%.

The annual report also reveals that the CSSIW dealt with 1,116 complaints about 594 services during 2012/13, including 182 complaints relating to children’s day care.

The most common reasons for complaints were: the neglect of service users (16%), the protection and physical abuse of service users (11%) and concerns about the behaviour and attitude of management (11%).

Of the concerns raised with the CSSIW in 2012/13, 888 involved adult services and 46 involved children’s services.

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