Anglesey child policies ‘serious failings’ – report

A report has highlighted “serious failings” in the way Anglesey council deals with the needs of vulnerable children.

The document has been published by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW)

Meanwhile, a senior figure in child care has warned that “a child will die’ unless Anglesey social services improve.

The Welsh Government says immediate action must be taken.

Commissioners appointed by the government have been running the council since earlier this year.

It is the second report into the council’s care regime in nine months, and follows an inspection in February and March.

The CSSIW report said it looked at assessment and care management of children in need in Anglesey, not safeguarding them.

‘Poor communication’

“However, the inspection provided evidence that indicates that there are serious failings regarding the safeguarding of children and consequently merits further inspection work.

The report went on to say that the inspectors found that the assessment and care management of children in Anglesey was “poor”.

“There were delays in assessing complex and serious cases. Assessments were not completed in timely manner.”

The report added: “Also the inspection found poor communication with staff and partner agencies, the lack of a performance management culture and the absence of a quality assurance system.

“The council has failed to achieve the necessary improvement over many years and it is uncertain if it will be able to do so in the future.”

‘Decisive action’

Among other findings – including “very low” staff morale – the report said: “The procedures fail to communicate what is expected of a social worker in undertaking the core functions of assessment and care management.

A senior figure in Gwynedd’s legal circles told BBC Wales’ political unit that a child could die unless improvements were made.

The report also highlights the council does some things well, including working well with some partner agencies in planning and providing multi agency support for families.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We have already taken swift and decisive action to take control of the running of Anglesey Council following the serious concerns outlined in the auditor general’s re-inspection report.

“In March, the Local Government Minister, Carl Sargeant, suspended the authority’s executive and appointed commissioners to run the council.

“We have always said that the core problems of political instability and failure to focus on what really matters would harm the delivery of effective front line services on the island. The findings of the CSSIW report is a clear demonstration that this is indeed the case, and further justifies the action we have already taken.

“The Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, has already made clear to council that she expects immediate and effective action to be taken to address the findings and recommendations in CSSIW’s report. We are already working closely with the commissioners to ensure this happens.”