Newcastle earns plaudits

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 published this

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 more than 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 spokesperson, although the report says the authority
originally had plans to eliminate the waiting list by March.

In addition, the report points to delays in hospital discharges
caused by a lack of funding, inconsistent child protection
practice, and the need to improve the quality of service provided
by children’s homes.

“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,” said Audit Commission and
SSI director of joint reviews John Bolton.

“We are delighted that the good work and commitment from staff
and managers has been recognised,” said Newcastle director of
social services Tom Dervin.

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