Leicestershire wins praise for partnership working

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

But the Social Services Inspectorate and Audit Commission joint
review said the council still has some way to go and joint working
with health and other agencies was described as “inconsistent”.

The report also highlighted some concerns over services in
children’s homes, services for people with learning difficulties
and care of older people where, although there are low numbers in
residential and nursing care and high levels of intensive home care
support, the picture remains fragmented.

The report noted that 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 joint review concluded that Leicestershire serves
most people well.

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

One home singled out was Blaby Community Home. It is sited in an
adapted isolation hospital in a remote part of the city with poor
transport links. The buildings are in a poor state of repair.

The review quoted one senior manager describing the home as “too
big, too institutionalised, too isolated and it hasn’t got a hope
in hell”.

Another commented that the culture of all the children’s homes
needed to be “less secretive and more outward looking”.

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

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

A Report of the Joint Review of Social Services in
Leicestershire County Council
from 0800 502030.

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