Ceredigion council in Wales needs to challenge traditional ways
of delivering services, reinvigorate its workforce and engage the
local community, the audit commission and social services
inspectorate has recommended.
The joint review of the council’s social services department
concludes that, while some people’s needs are met well, others
waited too long for a service or received no service at all.
The report, based on a review carried out between August and
October last year, describes prospects for improvements in the
short term as “uncertain”.
It highlighted that older people with mental health problems
especially need better services.
“The most significant service gap relates to support for older
people with mental health needs and their carers,” it says.
Good services identified within Ceredigion include financial
stability, positive relationships with other organisations and the
council was commended for its business acumen in running its own
directly managed services.
However, the council should learn more about the real level of
need across Ceredigion in order to target resources more
effectively. It should also take on board complaints to encourage
Areas of concern outlined in the review included the services
provided to support people in their own homes. Recommendations
included more focus in this area, assuring quality and improving
the support and supervision of the whole workforce.
Sue Mead, assistant director of joint reviews, said: “Ceredigion
is currently serving some people well. The council recognises there
is room for improvement in many areas.
“Those in charge need better information about what is going on
in the service, so as to assess its strengths, weaknesses, pressure
points and progress,” she said.
The main issue to address is older people with mental health
needs and their carers who are currently poorly served by the
council, she added.
A council spokesperson said the council fully accepted the
“challenging agenda for change”, and had already made some progress
on most of the priorities for action outlined in the report.
The main issue of older people’s mental health has been targeted
as an urgent priority for action, and some progress in this area
has already been made in the last five months.
Since the joint review, key managerial positions had been filled
and the authority had also increased its capacity to manage
performance centrally, which will enable the social services
department to plan more effectively and monitor progress