Councillors urged to quit in Caerphilly

A south Wales councillor has called for his
entire authority cabinet to quit, following a critical social
services joint review.

The report from the Audit Commission and the
Social Services Inspectorate for Wales criticises Caerphilly
Council for delays and backlogs in helping people, and says that
prospects for the future are uncertain.

The authority, which was at the centre of a
number of high-profile child protection cases during the 1990s, is
also locked into a “vicious cycle of overspending”, according to
the report.

Labour councillor Keith Griffiths says that he
was calling on the nine- member Plaid Cymru cabinet to stand down
and accused them of incompetence.

“My concern is not with the internal running
of social services but with the people who oversee it as elected
members. We now have a situation here where if there is an
emergency there is no money to fund it. They have been raiding the
reserves and there are still large numbers of children and elderly
people who are not receiving the service that they are entitled
to,” he said.

But the cabinet members have refused to stand
down and deputy council leader Colin Mann said that improvements
had already been made.

Responding to the report’s findings, cabinet
member for social services Judith Pritchard said the council was
determined not to relax the drive for improvements that had been
started in 2001, with the appointment of a new senior management
team and restructuring.

She added: “The council, as its response to
the joint review report, has supported an improvement programme
that sets out actions and targets for the next 12 months. It will
now be shared with users of our services, staff, councillors and
partner organisations to find further ways of improving our
services. While there is still hard work ahead, the joint review
report is accepted as an endorsement of the work started, and has
provided direction for the future.”

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