Welsh social services could decline

Social care services in Wales have shown consistent improvement over the past ten years, but this could turn to decline as the sector faces new problems.

In its annual report for 2008/09, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales said if services continued with the ‘same approach leading to slow, steady improvement, the changed environment is likely to mean that, at best, services stand still or, at worst, start to decline’.

Chief inspector Imelda Richardson said: ‘The challenge for all public bodies is to deliver quality services that provide value for money within a context of increasing demand and rising expectations.’

The CSSIW annual report, published on December 7, said there had been a more ‘systematic matching of resources to needs and priorities’ and better partnerships with the voluntary sector.

Overall satisfaction with social services by those using them is high, but the CSSIW said it still found ‘marked differences in the quality and level of social care services’ being provided by different local authorities.

The review recognised that improvements had been made on staffing issues, which ‘historically have been problematic’. But it said providers in the children’s residential and foster placement sector need to ensure staff and carers have adequate support to perform their role.

Conservative shadow health minister Andrew RT Davies said the report showed ‘improved co-ordination of services and better planning for patients’ was needed.