Inspectors tell Swindon it must improve

Swindon social services department has been warned in a joint
review report that it will need to improve significantly because it
is only serving some service users well, writes Anabel
Unity Sale.

A joint review by the Audit Commission and the Social Services
Inspectorate found that the council’s prospects for
improvement were poor without concerted change. This comes just a
few weeks after the council was given a zero star rating in the
first round of the new performance rating system.

The authority has high aspirations and ambition, the joint
review report says, but it has not yet “got to grips with some key
aspects of corporate management and with the complexity of social
care issues”.
The report says Swindon’s corporate objectives are not well
defined, there is a lack of vision for social services, and no
overall leadership and direction within the council. It adds:
“Adults’ services have suffered because of lack focus on the
core arrangement for assessing people’s needs and organising
services to help.”

Sue Mead, assistant review director, said: “Strong leadership
will be needed to formulate and drive through improvements at
Swindon social services. Councillors and officers need to
understand their roles and take their respective responsibility for
putting things right.”

Marie Seaton, Swindon council director of housing and social
services, said: “I regret some areas haven’t been successful
as they might have been, but we’ve improved a great deal in
the year since this inspection.”



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