Review Criticises Gwynedd Social Services
Urgent improvements are needed to bring social services in Gwynedd up to the required standard, say auditors. A review said the service was “inconsistent” and the council was badly placed to improve it.
Priorities for the council included ensuring the needs of children and families were met and developing “effective leadership”.
The council said it was determined to build on the considerable improvements already made since the review in 2007.
The report said Gwynedd council had made inadequate progress in developing modern social services which would allow vulnerable people to live independently.
While spending on social services in Gwynedd had increased in recent years, the auditors concluded that the money had not been used to best effect.
The report also said there were significant gaps in service in some parts of the county.
Chief inspector of Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales Rob Pickford said the council must develop an “effective response” to the concerns raised.
“The review team has judged that social services in Gwynedd are inconsistent and improvements need to be made urgently in order to bring them up to the required standard,” he said.
“The council has not moved in the right direction to address its shortfalls.”
Auditor General for Wales Jeremy Colman said the council needed to focus on developing “a broad range of modern services”.
“Gwynedd is failing to provide social services which consistently meet the needs of all service users and is unable to demonstrate that investment in services has been used to best effect,” he said.
In response, Gwynedd council said that work to improve the service had begun following last year’s inspection.
The authority said it recognised it would be “extremely challenging” to improve but it was confident it could deliver changes quickly and efficiently.
Gwynedd council’s strategic director for care Dafydd P Lewis said: “Gwynedd was already working to deliver some key changes to our social services before the joint review inspection period and had already recognised that the process of introducing change needed to be speeded up.
“As soon as the joint review findings were first highlighted to us, we immediately set about establishing a new structure to drive our improvement programme forward and to respond to the points raised in the report.”
He said the report confirmed that Gwynedd provided safe services for vulnerable people and council staff were hard-working and committed to their work.
Gwynedd council leader Councillor Dyfed Edwards added: “This report confirms that the ‘traditional’ Gwynedd way of delivering social services is no longer an acceptable option and that we must modernise these services as a matter of urgency.”
The review was carried out by Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and the Wales Audit Office.