Positive report on Perth and Kinross social services

A REPORT going before councillors tomorrow claims that Perthshire’s social work services have been making good progress and are “in a strong position to meet the challenges that lie ahead”.

The annual report has been compiled by Bill Atkinson, the area’s chief social work officer.

He based his claims on external inspections and self-evaluation of social work services delivered by Perth and Kinross Council.

Mr Atkinson said: “Social work services in Perth and Kinross have achieved innovation and improvement in the last year.

“Across all social work services there is a drive to achieve solutions for people that allow them to remain in their own communities.

“This may mean for example shifting the balance of care for older people to allow them to live as independently as possible in their own homes, reducing the need to place children outwith their communities, or supporting adults with disabilities to live in their own homes.

“In addition social work, like all public services, is facing a difficult financial climate and additional pressures from rising demand.

“I am confident however that, by adopting the council’s approach to meeting those challenges, social services in Perth and Kinross will continue to deliver improved outcomes for vulnerable people.”

The report provides a summary of the key challenges that social work services have faced over the last year and how well these have been met.

A number of key achievements are highlighted including:

Strengthening the arrangements to support and protect very vulnerable children and adults.

Responding to increasingly high demands for services

Developing partnership working to improve services and make the best use of resources.

Working to transform where required the way in which services are delivered.

Increasing engagement with individuals, families and communities in finding solutions and planning services.

Subsequent improvements include creating a ‘re-ablement’ team to help older people to enjoy living as independently as possible and increasing the rate of compliance for young offenders carrying out community based sentences.

Further achievements have included the opening of ‘@ Scott Street’, a city centre base that provides support for young people, and the setting up of a locally-run social work out-of-hours service.

PKC leader Ian Miller said yesterday: “It is often our most vulnerable residents who depend on the support of our social services.

“Given the huge challenges that we face in meeting growing needs with fewer resources, it is vital that we change and adapt our services to ensure that support continues to be available in the future.

“I welcome the drive and commitment of staff which is already achieving big improvements to services where they are needed. I very much look forward to considering this report.”