Welsh directors call for grants to stay

Welsh social services directors have called for dedicated grants
for children’s services to continue after a Welsh assembly report
found child protection services to be patchy.

An overview report on child protection by the Welsh assembly’s
health and social services committee published last week found that
some local authorities were struggling to cope with a significant
increase in referrals to child protection services (news, page 10,
22 July).

The report found high re-referral rates in councils with a limited
service provision and very high threshold criteria to gain

Timely core assessments were not being completed in many
authorities and there was little evidence of good analysis in
assessments. The quality of case files was found to be not good
enough, with some authorities still keeping family files instead of
one for each child.

Hugh Gardner, chair of the Association of Directors of Social
Services in Wales, urged the Welsh assembly to scrap proposals to
consolidate the children first grant into the local authority
revenue support grant. The grant accounts for about 10 per cent of
children’s budgets.

“There is a clear case for targeted resources,” he said. “We know
that where we get a clear sense of direction and resources linked
to that we get development.”

Joe Howsam, ADSS Wales child care spokesperson, also warned that
increasing first line management, as proposed by Lord Laming in the
Victoria Climbie Report, would deplete the pool of experienced
social workers. “There’s a tension about how quickly we can move
forward,” he said.

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