Walsall services on the up, says report

Improvements in social services are helping to turn around poorly
performing Walsall Council.

A recent inspection of the west midlands council by the Audit
Commission found things had improved “dramatically” since a damning
joint review report in 2002 (news, page 16, 30 May 2002).

It says there are “real signs of progress in social services”,
especially in children’s services. The council has achieved most of
the targets in its action plan, introduced following the 2002
report, particularly concerning risk management, financial control
and standards of conduct.

Eddie Hughes, executive member for social services at Walsall
Council, said the council would now focus on older people’s
services and retaining social workers. It has appointed a
recruitment and retention manager.

“We admit too many older people into residential care who would
prefer to live at home. It is our biggest area to address,” he

The action plan was developed by a team of private sector
troubleshooters. Former Liverpool social services director Annie
Shepperd was appointed chief executive in February.

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