Newcastle serving people well, inspectors say

    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.”






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