Inspectors criticise Caerphilly for delays in service delivery

A joint review of Caerphilly social services in south Wales
warns there has been some improvement in services, but there are
still too many delays in people getting help, writes
Alex Dobson.

The joint review from the Audit Commission and the Social
Services Inspectorate for Wales (SSIW) also says that despite some
encouraging signs, the prospects for the future are uncertain.

The council was at the centre of a number of high profile child
protection cases in the late 1990s, and Jane Hutt, minister for
health and social services at the Welsh assembly, says that she
will now be meeting the council leader to discuss continuing
problems and ways of increasing the pace of improvement.

But despite the disappointing judgement, the report says: “The
joint review team is also clear that social services in Caerphilly
are improving, albeit from a very low base. This is primarily due
to the efforts of the new directorate in starting to steer

But it warns that this effort: “Needs stronger corporate and
political priority and support in order to meet the challenge of
the scale and pace of change required.”

The review found that many people rated services highly once
they got them, but there were delays in getting help for some
children and adults with priority needs. There were also delays and
backlogs in responding to children in need and children with
disabilities, and for adults in hospital waiting for discharge and
access to aids for mobility.

The report says that there were some good, preventive services
to support children and families once they were in the system, and
that police and social services work well together. But it also
warned that arrangements to screen and prioritise referrals in both
children’s and adult services need strengthening, and this
included emergency out of hours services, which the council
acknowledged to be weak.

Chief inspector of social services Graham Williams said: “The
council is attempting many changes in social services, while
struggling to sustain its frontline services. It must now maintain
the momentum for improvements and show real results for people in
need. Our inspectors will continue to advise and monitor



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