Newcastle upon Tyne Council’s social services department
is serving most people well, according to a joint review by the
Audit Commission and Social Services Inspectorate,
writes Jonathan Pearce.
A major reorganisation of social services over the past two
years meant services were developing at a rapid pace, says the
report, which highlights some “excellent” community care services
and positive examples of multi-agency work.
But despite the improvements, there was need for action in
specific areas, adds the report. In particular, there are long
waits for some community care services, including over 1,000 people
waiting for an occupational therapy assessment.
Since the council received initial feedback from the inspectors
last December, the waiting list has been halved, according to a
Newcastle Council spokesperson, although the report says the
authority originally had plans to eliminate the waiting list by
In addition, the report points to delays in hospital discharges
caused by a lack of funding, inconsistent child protection
practice, despite the improvements, and the need to improve the
quality of service provided by children’s homes.
John Bolton, director of joint reviews, said: “Newcastle social
services have made significant progress in the last couple of
years, and the commitment of managers and staff, and what they have
achieved, is impressive.”