Leicestershire begins to dispel `insular` culture

Leicestershire social services has won praise from a joint
review for starting to dispel its previous “insular” culture, and
introducing a new emphasis on partnership working.

But the council still has some way to go, and joint working with
health and other agencies is described as “inconsistent”.

The report also highlights some concerns over services in
children’s homes.

The picture remains “fragmented” for people with learning
disabilities and older people. There are low numbers in residential
and nursing care because there are high levels of intensive home
care support.

The report also notes that relatively few specialist services
are available for people from minority ethnic groups, and local
voluntary groups have called for faster progress on building
equality into the authority’s culture, systems and services.

Overall the Social Services Inspectorate and the Audit
Commission conclude that Leicestershire serves most people

But the inspectors raise specific concerns over the standard of
care provided in two of the authority’s three children’s homes
which they said need “significant improvement”.

Another commented that the culture of all the homes needed to be
“less secretive and more outward looking”. A middle manager raised
concerns about the quality of care and said the homes seemed “out
of control at times”.

Meanwhile a team manager said children placed in the authority’s
residential homes often “go down hill very quickly”.

But the joint review team noted that the council was taking a
number of steps to address the problems including moving one of the
homes to a different part of the county, and opening two new homes
to increase placement choice.

Commenting on the joint review, Tony Harrop, Leicestershire
director of social services, said: “I am particularly pleased that
the report highlights the commitment and quality of the work of
social services staff in Leicestershire, and also commends our
success in supporting a high proportion of adults and children
within the community rather than in more institutional






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