Improvements In Care Services But Important Areas Of Concern Remain

“The most significant improvements are in day care services for Under 8s.  Childminders now largely meet the requirements of the regulations, which is a significant achievement.  Improvements were also achieved in full day care, sessional care, open access play provision, and crèches and there was significant progress in out of school care,” said Mr. Pickford. “For Under 8’s services this progress is being reflected in the new proportionate approach to regulation which has already resulted in approximately 1,000 fewer inspections this year.” said Mr Pickford.

“Where services show clear signs of improvement, we have been able to respond by reducing the intensity of regulation,” said Mr. Pickford.

The main areas of concern where people are not consistently receiving the appropriate quality of services are in residential services for both children and adults.  These include core areas such as statements of purpose, plans to meet people’s individual needs, numbers and suitability of staff, staff training and support, record keeping and premises.

Mr. Pickford referred to a number of key factors which will need to be developed in order to drive up standards.

“Where people benefit from services that meet the regulations, we see evidence of strong participation; clear care planning; services tailored to individual need; staff who are supported and have the confidence which training gives them; leadership by managers; quality assurance systems and operational frameworks that are understood and used,” said Mr. Pickford.

The report outlines CSIW’s own contribution to service improvement and in particular, the progress made on reforming regulation in Wales. During the last year, regulation has become increasingly service user focused, proportionate and integrated with the work of other inspectorates.

“I would also like to initiate debate about how more flexible and timely enforcement tools could be developed in order to enable a more immediate and efficient response to breaches of regulation,” said Mr. Pickford.

“Regulation and enforcement action in isolation, although important, cannot alone raise standards of care.  There is a need for a strategic response, involving all those organisations, which have a stake in services. ‘Fulfilled Lives – Supportive Communities’  (the Welsh Assembly Government strategy for social services in Wales over the next decade) is central to that,” said Mr. Pickford.

In particular, Mr Pickford emphasised the need to discuss how service providers, who are responsible for the quality of their services; commissioners including care managers, and regulators could work more effectively together to improve services.