Welsh care inspectorate under fire in Welsh assembly

A Conservative Welsh Assembly member has called for an independent review of the role and responsibilities of the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales.

Speaking at a debate on the inspectorate’s annual report, the chair of the public accounts committee of the Welsh Assembly, Jonathan Morgan, questioned the effectiveness of the organisation.

He said the CSSIW lacked expertise in inspecting care homes because most of its inspectors had a background in inspecting social services departments. The CSSIW was formed from a merger of council inspectorate Social Services Inspectorate for Wales and care provider regulator the Care Standards Inspectorate Wales in 2007.

Morgan added that the self-appraisal by the CSSIW in its annual report had been very brief.

The Welsh government announced a review last year of the social care regulatory framework, which is due to start shortly.

Morgan said that he had a letter from the Wales Audit Office indicating that any review would be carried out by the CSSIW, without external input.

Morgan, said: “It is not good enough just to allow CSSIW to undertake some sort of internal review; we need an external audit of the organisation’s ability to do its job properly.”

The Welsh government had also come under pressure to review the inspectorate’s role following an edition of the BBC The Week In Week Out programme entitled ‘Who Cares in Wales’ which found that a number of homes not meeting basic standards.

Deputy minister for social services Gwenda Thomas said: “I concluded in the summer that the changing nature and context of social care mean that we need to consider how we ensure that the future needs and expectation of service users are met, and require that we look at how regulation can support the next stage in the evolution of services.”

She added that she had asked the inspectorate to make the review of the regulatory framework a priority.

The inspectorate’sannual review of social services in Wales, published in December 2009, found an increasing gap between the worst and best performing services for both adults and children.

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