New social service inspection processes unveiled in Wales

The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) announced a reform to the way in which social services are reviewed and inspected.

The reform has been developed following extensive consultation with local authorities and social care providers and aims to improve the inspection process.

The new framework stresses that local authorities are responsible for the quality and improvement of their social services.

The main elements of the new inspection system are:

– Local authorities will be required have an annual improvement plan for social services, which they will have to report on how it is being delivered in a public annual report;
– CSSIW will undertake a review and analysis of evidence underpinning the annual report including evidence from other inspectorates and regulators;
– The analysis will result in an individual Inspection and Review Plan for each authority; and,
– All authorities will receive announced and unannounced visits annually.

Rob Pickford, the Chief Inspector of CSSIW, said: “This is a major shift in the balance of the relationship between the inspectorate and inspected bodies and will enable us to focus more on the experience of people who receive services. It is an approach that encourages improvement and innovation by local government.

“The new arrangement continues to focus ensuring that some of the most vulnerable people in society receive the care and support they need. Therefore it continues to place an emphasis on safeguarding children and adults and to promote their welfare, development and independence.”

Deputy Minister for Social Services Gwenda Thomas added: “Local authorities have a clear duty to provide high-quality care for those most in need, whether that be supporting families to enable children to stay at home, or whether they need to be looked after in a care home or with foster families or whether it is supporting older people to live independently for longer.

“The new framework, which has been consulted on, reminds local authorities of their duty in continually working to improve services and deliver appropriate care and support.

“It will clearly set out who is responsible for delivering and improving services. CSSIW will continue to provide robust external inspection of services to ensure services are delivered effectively, and will continue to act swiftly to address concerns.”

The new framework will be implemented from April 2009. CSSIW will work closely with stakeholders and key partners through the implementation process.