Vale of Glamorgan faces inspection on back of abuse case

Vale of Glamorgan Council will face an inspection after failings were identified in its handling of the case of a teenage sex offender who was placed with a family, whose children he went on to abuse.

Welsh government deputy minister for social services Gwenda Thomas said today that the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales would undertake a review of the authority later in the year, with a particular focus on the issues raised by the case.

Damning internal review

She was responding to a damning internal inquiry into the case by the council, published in May, which found that the council’s leaving care team had failed to provide the adult placement service, which made the placement, with a chronology of his past offences or the results of risk assessments made on him.

Following the report, director of social services Phil Evans announced a major retraining programme for staff and an overhaul of risk management and case referral processes. Three members of staff were suspended, prompting Unison to accuse the authority of scapegoating social workers.

Thomas said there had been a “history of concerns about social services in the Vale of Glamorgan”, citing its most recent joint review, published in February 2007, which found uncertain capacity to improve, despite the council having mainly good services.

Signs of improvement

However, she said there had been signs of improvement since, which needed to be maintained.

Thomas said the CSSIW would inspect the council once its action plan to tackle the failings highlighted in the internal inquiry had been completed, allowing the inspectorate to assess whether appropriate changes had been made.

She said an inspection of the area’s adult placement service had already taken place and hinted that the service may face enforcement action under the Care Standards Act 2000, despite not facing criticism in the internal inquiry.

She also said the Welsh government was considering whether to amend the regulations or national minimum standards for adult placement services.

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