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Assembly Member welcomes intervention in Neath Port Talbot Children’s Services

November 19, 2012 11:42 AM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, has welcomed the decision by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales to invoke the use of the Serious Concern Protocol for Children's Social Services in Neath Port Talbot.

Mr. Black was reacting to an inspection report that was published today by CSSIW that concluded that 'the service lacks direction and staff need clear guidance and support to promote consistent levels of good practice.' They state that the 'high turnover of staff has continued to have an adverse impact on the performance and continuity of service delivery to children and their families.'

They add that an improvement plan 'has not resulted in clear direction for staff nor the improvements in practice which were identified in the last inspection as being necessary.' Overall caseloads are too high, a significant number of new social workers have little experience of practice, there is a continuing dependence on agency workers, there is a high turnover of staff and stress related sickness absence.

This is the third report of its type in two years," said Mr. Black, "And yet Inspectors still have serious concerns about the operation of this department and its effectiveness in protecting children, I share those concerns, having had a number of issues brought to me by concerned parents and teachers over the same period.

"What is clear is that committed and hard-working front line staff are being swamped with unmanageable caseloads, and are not receiving the support and guidance that they need. In these circumstances there is a real danger that a child could slip though the safety net. That is an unacceptable risk, so it is absolutely right that the level of intervention by CSSIW is stepped up to try and turn the service around."