Welsh council appeals for help to stabilise social services

In the first move of its kind in Wales, Blaenau Gwent Council
has requested help from an improvement board to help
‘stabilise and re-direct’ social services,
writes Alex Dobson.

The decision was taken following a ‘whole authority assessment’
last year, and in the wake of a damming joint review that revealed
vulnerable children were being failed by the authority.

The board is made up of partnership formed by the Welsh Assembly
Government, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), the
Audit Commission in Wales and public services inspectorates.

A statement from the council said that as it is relatively
small, and has limited managerial resources, it needs extra

Leader of Blaenau Gwent Council John Hopkins said: “This
offers the authority a unique opportunity to move forward in
partnership with key national bodies to achieve rapid and
sustainable improvement in service delivery in areas of Blaenau
Gwent where we have real problems that urgently need to be

Sandy Blair, director of the WLGA, said that the bodies that
made up the improvement board are now working together to ensure
timely and relevant support for the council.”

It is understood that Blaenau Gwent’s director of social
services has been on leave for the past two weeks, and that the
department is currently under the control of the council’s
chief executive.

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