Staff shortages force social services to turn people away

Too many people are being turned away from social services at
the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead because of staff
shortages, a damning joint review has revealed, writes
Sally Gillen

The report into the council’s social services finds that
it is not serving people well, and prospects for improvement are

It says there are weaknesses in access arrangements for
vulnerable children and adults, too many people have been excluded
from an assessment of their needs and assessments are often

But in a statement, the council said the “overall assessment is
disappointing, even harsh”, adding that in the area of child
protection the “judgement has been influenced by national concerns
triggered by high profile cases, particularly in London

Other problems highlighted in the report are that the department
has trouble identifying and addressing risks in vulnerable children
and adults, and that there are unacceptable delays in carrying out
assessments for those in the top two priority bands.

But it also praises the department’s managers for
delivering a “demanding programme of structural change within tight
timescales” and successfully implementing a budget strategy.

John Bolton, director of joint reviews at the Audit Commission,
said: “Windsor and Maidenhead needs to make sure it responds
positively and promptly to vulnerable people when they first ask
for help.

“The council has established some good services, but has
neglected to ensure that the right people receive the services at
the right time,” he added.

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